Record of a mature female Ophichthus zophistius (Anguilliformes: Ophichthidae) from the northwestern Pacific
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The family Ophichthidae (Anguilliformes), or snake eels, currently contains approximately 323 species. Most of these species inhabit waters shallower than 200 m in the coastal areas of tropical and temperate oceans (Smith and McCosker 1999; Nelson et al. 2016; Hibino et al. 2019). Despite this extensive distribution, relatively little is known about the reproductive biology of this family.
In the Atlantic Ocean, Ophichthus rufus, which is distributed along the Mediterranean shelf, is iteroparous with a spawning season that extends from July to October (Bauchot 1986; Casadevall et al. 2001). A single specimen of O. puncticeps with a mature testis was collected off North Carolina in January (Ross and Rohde 2003). Wenner (1976) described the gonad structure of mature specimens of O. cruentifer males and females, collected from Norfolk Canyon, off Norfolk, Virginia, in June. Ahlia egmontiswith well-developed gonads was collected off Cape Gracias a Dios in Central America in November...
We are especially grateful to Fishing Master Mr. S. Kurosaka and his crew aboard the commercial fishing vessel Kaiyo Maru No. 30 for their assistance onboard during the cruise. We thank Y. Hibino for valuable comments on O. zophistius. We also thank S. Watanabe for encouragement and useful comments in preparing the manuscript. This specimen was captured as part of a research conducted by the JAMARC.
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