SELECT DISTINCTROW FAMILIES.Family, FAMILIES.FamCode, FAMILIES.CommonName FROM ((COUNTFAO RIGHT JOIN SPECIES ON COUNTFAO.SpecCode = SPECIES.SpecCode) RIGHT JOIN FAMILIES ON SPECIES.FamCode = FAMILIES.FamCode) WHERE (((FAMILIES.SYNONYM) Is Null Or (FAMILIES.SYNONYM)=0) AND ((FAMILIES.Ordnum)=26) ) ORDER BY FAMILIES.SYNONYM DESC , FAMILIES.Family Fish Identification: Find family
Fish Identification: Find Family
Glossary 16 families of eels and morays FishBase

Anguillidae Anguillidae - (Freshwater eels) Usually catadromous fishes in tropical and temperate waters, except eastern Pacific and south Atlantic. Eellike body with minute or embedded scales. Well developed pectorals but no pelvic fins; dorsal and caudal fin confluent with anal fin. All species are important food fishes and are sold fresh, smoked, or canned. Important aquaculture species based on captured juveniles (elvers); widely introduced. All spend their juvenile and adult life in freshwater, returning to the ocean to spawn and die. The leptocephalus larvae are marine with sharply pointed tail which distinguishes the family from the elopids. There is some doubt as to the validity of some of the fifteen species currently recognized.


Chlopsidae Chlopsidae - (False morays) Distribution: Atlantic, Indian and Pacific. Tropical and subtropical. Gill openings small, roundish and situated laterally. Head with lateral line pores, absent on body. Branchial pores 1 or 2. Scaleless. Some without pectoral fins. Posterior nostril opening into the lip in Kaupichthys nuchalis of the Western Atlantic; otherwise, the nostril is displaced ventrally. Vertebrae often 100-105. Pelagic eggs (Ref. 44843). Leptocephali (larvae) showed curling behavior which make them resemble gelatinous zooplankton, e.g. jellyfishes, in observations made at Osprey Reef, Coral Sea. This behavior could be an evolved response to threats by potential predators according to this study (Ref. 99222). Observations of the curling bahavior were captured in this video link: http://australianmuseum.net.au/Leptocephalus-curling-behavior


Colocongridae Colocongridae - (Short-tail eels) Distribution: Atlantic, Indian, and western Pacific Oceans. Body stubby and snout blunt (least elongate anguilliform); lateral line complete, most pores in short tubes; anus well behind midlength; pectoral fin well developed; vomerine teeth absent; vertebrae 142-163. Suggested new common name for this family from Ref. 58418.


Congridae Congridae - (Conger and garden eels) Distribution: Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans. Body without scales; lateral line complete. Usually with pectoral fins. Branchiostegal rays 8-22. Vertebrae 105-225. Conger eels feed on small fishes and crustaceans, primarily at night. Occur mostly in deep or temperate waters and are valued as food fishes. Garden eels occur in colonies in sand where they live individually in burrows from which they protrude to feed on plankton. Mating and spawning apparently takes place without any lengthy migration. Leptocephali (larvae) showed curling behavior which make them resemble gelatinous zooplankton, e.g. jellyfishes, in observations made at Osprey Reef, Coral Sea. This behavior could be an evolved response to threats by potential predators according to this study (Ref. 99222). Observations of the curling bahavior were captured in this video link: http://australianmuseum.net.au/Leptocephalus-curling-behavior


Derichthyidae Derichthyidae - (Longneck eels) Distribution: Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific Oceans. Head bearing a series of parallel striations that form part of a sensory system. Pectorals present, pelvics absent; dorsal fin origin behind tip of pectorals. Anus well behind midlength. Snout short in Derichthys and relatively long in Nessorhamphus. Adults mesopelagic to bathypelagic. Maximum length about 60 cm.


Heterenchelyidae Heterenchelyidae - (Mud eels) Distribution: Atlantic (and Mediterranean) and eastern Pacific. Tropical. No pectoral fin. Large mouth. Scaleless. Gill openings low on body. Origin of dorsal fin over gill opening. Lateral line absent. Vertebrae 109-136 in Panturichthys and 141-227 in Pythonichthys. Suggested new common name for this family from Ref. 58418.


Moringuidae Moringuidae - (Worm or spaghetti eels) Distribution: tropical Indo-Pacific and Western Atlantic; rarely in freshwater. Body very much elongated and filamentous. Scales absent. Gill openings set low on body. Dorsal and anal fins appearing as low folds far down posterior and united with caudal fin. Pectorals weakly developed, when present. Eyes small underneath skin. Vertebrae 98-180. Pronounced sexual dimorphism exists, but sometimes there is a problem of establishing conspecificity between the sexes.


Muraenesocidae Muraenesocidae - (Pike congers) Distribution: Atlantic, Indian and Pacific. Tropical. Well developed teeth, especially on vomer. Pectorals well developed. Large eyes covered with skin. Origin of dorsal fin over or slightly before pectoral base. Conspicuous lateral line. Vertebrae 120-216.


Muraenidae Muraenidae - (Moray eels) Worldwide in tropical and temperate seas. Diverse group of eels with large mouths with numerous teeth; often with fanglike (canine) teeth. Dorsal fin origin usually before the gill openings; median fins confluent with caudal fin; no pelvic and pectoral fins. Gill openings as small roundish lateral openings. Head with 1-3 lateral line pores; absent on body. Scaleless. Recorded maximum length 3.0 m. Some morays cause ciguatera fish poisoning. A skin toxin was noted in an Indo-Pacific moray eel. Adults benthic, generally in shallow water among rocks and coral heads; many species are more active at night and hide in holes and crevices during the day. Vicious reputation is undeserved, although some species will bite if provoked. Feed mainly on crustaceans, cephalopods and small fishes. Larvae (leptocephali) epipelagic, widespread and abundant. Widely used as food, but a few large species may be ciguatoxic. Generally hardy in captivity. Leptocephali showed curling behavior which make them resemble gelatinous zooplankton in observations made at Osprey Reef, Coral Sea. This behavior could be an evolved response to threats by potential predators according to the study (Ref. 99222). Observations of the curling bahavior were captured in this video link: http://australianmuseum.net.au/Leptocephalus-curling-behavior


Myrocongridae Myrocongridae - (Atlantic red eels) Distribution: Atlantic Ocean. Monotypic (based on only one specimen). Suggested new common name for this family from Ref. 58418.


Nemichthyidae Nemichthyidae - (Snipe eels) Distribution: Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific. Bathypelagic and mesopelagic. Jaws extremely long; the lower jaw shorter than the upper making the jaws nonocclusible, with the exception of ripe males.Very elongate body. Pectoral fin present. Dorsal and anal fins united with caudal fin. Large eyes. Preopercle lacking. Frontals partly united in some. Complete lateral line. Anus a short distance behind pectoral fin (Avocettina) or under pectoral fin. Vertebrae 170-220 in Labrichthys nd Avocettina to over 750 in Nemichthys. Sexually mature males undergo distinct changes, like the radical shortening of the jaws and tooth loss.


Nettastomatidae Nettastomatidae - (Duckbill eels) Distribution: Atlantic, Indian and Pacific. Tropical and warm temperate. Elongated and narrow head and snout. Mouth large. Tail sharply tapering. Adults usually without pectoral fin (present only in Hoplunnis). Vertebrae usually 190-280. Maximum length about 100 cm.


Ophichthidae Ophichthidae - (Snake eels) Distribution: tropical to warm temperate waters. Coastal, some species entering rivers. Posterior nostril usually lying within or piercing the upper lip, opening into mouth. Tongue attached. Branchiostegal rays 15-49 pairs, overlapping midventrally to form a 'jugostegalia', a basketlike structure. Poorly developed neural spines, when present. Hyomandibulae usually vertical, but may be inclined backward or forward. With or without pectoral fins. Vertebrae 110-270. Most species spend their time burried in sand and hunt small fishes and crustaceans by sense of smell.


Protanguillidae Protanguillidae - (Protoanguillids)


Serrivomeridae Serrivomeridae - (Sawtooth eels) Distribution: Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans. Jaws produced. Vomerine teeth lancet-like arranged in a saw-like row.


Synaphobranchidae Synaphobranchidae - (Cutthroat eels) Distribution: Atlantic, Indian and Pacific. Opening of gills low on body, below or at the insertion of pectoral fin. Pectoral fin absent in a few species. Third hypobranchial directed forward from midline, meeting third ceratobranchial at a sharp angle. Vertebrae 110-205. Eyes telescopic in the larval stage; its lens at anterodorsal end.


Note: Families with unknown counts of dorsal or anal spines are also included

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