Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    dorsalis
    Genus
    Alabes
    Family
    Gobiesocidae
    Order
    Perciformes
    Class
    Actinopterygii
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Chordata
  • Size Range
    The species grows to about 12 cm in length.

Introduction

The Common Shore Eel is an elongate fish with a small head. Despite its standard name, it is not an eel. It is a temperate marine species that is endemic to Australia.

Identification

The Common Shore Eel is an elongate fish with a small head and a narrow gill slit on the underside of the head. The continuous dorsal, anal and caudal fins lack fin rays. There are no scales or lateral line. The fish is usually brown, greenish or orange, often with large black blotches on the sides of the body. The Common Shore Eel is not related to the eels. It is actually a member of the family Gobiesocidae and is related to the Clingfishes.

Habitat

The Common Shore Eel is a temperate marine species that occurs in rocky reefs and inshore waters. It is commonly encountered in rockpools in Victoria and Tasmania.

Distribution

The species is endemic to Australia, occurring from southern Queensland to South Australia, including Tasmania.

The map below shows the Australian distribution of the species based on public sightings and specimens in Australian Museums.  Source: Atlas of Living Australia.

Alabes dorsalis

Ozcam map of Common Shore Eel specimens in the Australian Museums. http://ozcam.ala.org.au/occurrences/search?q=Alabes%20dorsalis&zoom=off#mapView

References

  1. 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.
  2. Hutchins, J.B. Family Gobiesocidae. in Gomon, M.F., Glover, C.J.M. & R.H. Kuiter (Eds). 1994. The Fishes of Australia's South Coast. State Print, Adelaide. Pp. 992.
  3. Hutchins, B. & R. Swainston. 1986. Sea Fishes of Southern Australia. Complete Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Swainston Publishing. Pp. 180.
  4. Kuiter, R.H. 2000. Coastal Fishes of South-eastern Australia. Gary Allen. Pp. 437.