Ophichthus olivaceus McCosker & Bogorodsky, 2020
Olivaceous snake eel
photo by Bogorodsky, S.V.

Family:  Ophichthidae (Snake eels), subfamily: Ophichthinae
Max. size:  75.6 cm TL (female)
Environment:  bathydemersal; marine; depth range 35 - 63 m
Distribution:  Western Indian Ocean, Red Sea, southern Saudi Arabia.
Diagnosis:  Vertebrae: 141-145. This speies is distinguished by the following characters: moderately elongate species, tail length 46.3-46.4%, head length 9.0-10.4%, and body depth at gill opening 3.6-4.2% of total length; dorsal-fin origin is above the middle of pectoral fin; pectoral fin rounded, elongate and well-developed; posterior nostril within upper lip, not visible externally; upper lip with two minute barbels, the first between anterior and posterior nostrils, the second beneath mid orbit; pores distinct, supraorbital pores 1 + 4, infraorbital pores 4 + 2, preopercular pores 5 + 3; teeth small, conical, uniserial on vomer and jaws; total vertebrae 141-145, mean vertebral formula 12-67.5-143. Colouration: dark tan with olivaceous hue dorsally and laterally, tan ventrally on tail and pale yellow ventrally on trunk; above pectoral-fin base are two pale yellow smudges; snout and lower jaw dark brown; throat pale orange-yellow, preopercle pale yellow and postorbital area pale yellow with numerous dark brown dots; dorsal fin and anal fins olivaceous; tip of tail dark red (Ref. 123091).
Biology:  Known from the holotype and paratype, trawled from a soft substratum from 35-63 m depth off The largest known specimen is 75.6 cm TL ripe female with packed ovaries, with ova ca. 1 mm in diameter (Ref. 123091).
IUCN Red List Status: Not Evaluated (N.E.) Ref. (126983)
Threat to humans:  harmless

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