Animal Species:Snubnose Eel, Simenchelys parasitica Gill, 1879
In 1992 two Snubnose Eels were found inside the heart of a Shortfin Mako, where they were believed to have fed on the blood of the host. The species can be recognised by its snub-nosed appearance, small mouth and embedded scales.
Standard Common Name
The Snubnose Eel has a moderately elongate body with well developed fins. It can be recognised by its snub-nosed appearance, small mouth and embedded scales. It is grey to grey-brown with darker fin margins.
Simenchelys parasitica is the only member of the subfamily Simenchelyinae.
The species grows to 61cm in length.
The Snubnose Eel occurs in temperate marine waters of the Atlantic and Indo-West and Central Pacific. In Australia it is known from off northern Queensland, New South Wales, Tasmania and the Great Australian Bight off Western Australia.
The map below shows the Australian distribution of the species based on public sightings and specimens in Australian Museums. Click on the map for detailed information. Source: Atlas of Living Australia.
Distribution by collection data
It inhabits continental slope and upper abyssal waters at depths from 136 m to 2620 m.
Feeding and Diet
It feeds on epibenthic crustaceans and fishes, and is reported to be a fish parasite.
- Hoese, D.F., Bray, D.J., Paxton, J.R. & G.R. Allen. 2006. Fishes. In Beesley, P.L. & A. Wells. (eds) Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Volume 35. ABRS & CSIRO Publishing: Australia. parts 1-3, pages 1-2178.
- Karmovskaya, E.S. 1978. Preliminary list of eels (Anguilliformes, Osteichthys) of the Australian-New Zealand region (on materials collected during the 16th cruise of the R/V Dimitry Mendeleev). Trudy Inst. Okeanol. Akad. Nauk S.S.S.R. 112: 147-151 (in Russian).
- Smith, D. G. 1999. Synaphobranchidae. in Carpenter, K.E. & V.H. Niem (Eds). FAO Species Identification Guide for Fishery Purposes. The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. Volume 3. Batoid fishes, chimaeras and bony fishes part 1 (Elopidae to Linophrynidae). FAO, Rome. Pp. iii-vi, 1398-2068.
Mark McGrouther , Collection Manager, Ichthyology
Tags fishes, ichthyology, Snubnose Eel, Simenchelys parasitica, Synaphobranchidae, eel, long and skinny, 30 cm - 1 m, continental slope, marine, temperate water, small mouth, embedded scales, grey, grey-brown,