Snubnosed Eel, Simenchelys parasitica Gill, 1879 Click to enlarge image
A Snubnosed Eel trawled during the NORFANZ expedition at a depth between 1082m and 1120m, on the Lord Howe Rise between Australia and New Zealand, June 2003. This fish is now registered in the CSIRO Fish Collection, Hobart. Image: Kerryn Parkinson
© NORFANZ Founding Parties

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    parasitica
    Genus
    Simenchelys
    Family
    Synaphobranchidae
    Order
    Anguilliformes
    Class
    Actinopterygii
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    The species grows to 61cm in length.

Introduction

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.

Identification

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.


Snubnosed Eel, Simenchelys parasitica Gill, 1879
A Snubnosed Eel trawled during the NORFANZ expedition at a depth between 1082m and 1120m, on the Lord Howe Rise between Australia and New Zealand, June 2003. This fish is now registered in the CSIRO Fish Collection, Hobart. Photo: K.Parkinson © NORFANZ Image: Kerryn Parkinson
© NORFANZ Founding Parties

Habitat

It inhabits continental slope and upper abyssal waters at depths from 136 m to 2620 m.

Distribution

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.



Feeding and diet

It feeds on epibenthic crustaceans and fishes, and is reported to be a fish parasite.

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. 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).
  3. 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.