Actinopteri (ray-finned fishes) > Synbranchiformes
(Spiny eels) > Synbranchidae
Etymology: Ophisternon: Greek, ophis = serpent + Greek, sternon = chest (Ref. 45335).
Environment: milieu / climate zone / depth range / distribution range
Freshwater; brackish; demersal; pH range: 6.8 - 7.3; potamodromous (Ref. 51243); depth range 0 - 3 m (Ref. 35740). Tropical; 21°S - 23°S
Oceania: Western Australia. Threatened (Ref. 35740).
Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm ?  range ? - ? cm
Max length : 40.0 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 2906); common length : 34.0 cm SL male/unsexed; (Ref. 35740)
Morphology | Morphometrics
Vertebrae: 150. Body extremely elongated, eel-like and roundish. No fins except a thin rayless finfold near and around the tip of the tail. No externally visible eyes. The lateral line system is distinct and continues to near the tip of the tail. Anus in anterior half of the body. Whitish coloration in the skin.
Adults occur in subterranean systems (uniquely adapted to life in dark caverns and fissures). Inhabit dark subterranean waters beneath coastal limestone, occasionally sighted in wells. Burrow into soft bottom sediments. Water is brackish and under tidal influence. Can adapt to living in a lightless environment (Ref. 44894). Are carnivores feeding on invertebrates, egg layer and prefer the following aquarium conditions: pH=7.8, H=15, 25°C water temperature, salinity 1-8 ppt; rocky substrate (note that this is not a species recommended for beginning aquarists, Ref. 6398, 44894). The male guards and builds nest or burrow (Ref. 205).
Life cycle and mating behavior
Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae
The male guards and builds nest or burrow (Ref. 205).
Romero, A. and P.B.S. Vanselow, 2000. Threatened fishes of the world: Ophisternon candidum (Mees, 1962) (Synbranchidae). Environ. Biol. Fishes 58(2):214. (Ref. 35740)
IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 125652)
Threat to humans
Fisheries: of no interest; aquarium: commercial
ReferencesAquacultureAquaculture profileStrainsGeneticsAllele frequenciesHeritabilityDiseasesProcessingNutrientsMass conversion
Estimates based on models
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805
= 0.5156 [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.00083 (0.00038 - 0.00180), b=3.10 (2.90 - 3.30), in cm total length, based on LWR estimates for this (Sub)family-body shape (Ref. 93245
Trophic level (Ref. 69278
): 3.5 ±0.37 se; based on food items.
Resilience (Ref. 120179
): Medium, minimum population doubling time 1.4 - 4.4 years (Preliminary K or Fecundity.).
Fishing Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): Low to moderate vulnerability (30 of 100) .
Climate Vulnerability (Ref. 125649
): (0 of 100) .