Ichthyological Research

, Volume 60, Issue 1, pp 43–47 | Cite as

Scolecenchelys fuscogularis (Anguilliformes: Ophichthidae, Myrophinae), a new worm eel from Japan

  • Yusuke Hibino
  • Yoshiaki Kai
  • Seishi Kimura
Full Paper


A new species of worm eel (Ophichthidae, subfamily Myrophinae), Scolecenchelys fuscogularis, is described from two specimens collected at 90–147 m depth off the coast of Japan. The new species is characterized by its dorsal-fin origin, which is located posterior to a vertical through the anus, its high total number of vertebrae (146–149), and its uniserial dentition on jaws and vomer. The new species is similar to Scolecenchelys australis and Scolecenchelys tasmaniensis in having 148–152 total and 60–61 preanal vertebrae and its uniserial teeth, but can be distinguished from the latter two species as it has a larger head [8.5–8.8 % of total length (TL) vs. 7.8–8.3 %], a longer trunk (39 % TL vs. 34–35 %), and a shorter tail (52–53 % TL vs. 56–58 %). Although S. fuscogularis most resembles Scolecenchelys chilensis in having 146–159 total and 59–64 preanal vertebrae and uniserial teeth, as well as in the proportions of the head, trunk and tail, the new species differs from the latter in having a smaller head (8.5–8.8 % TL vs. 8.9–9.7 %), a more slender body (body depth 1.5–1.6 % TL vs. 2.3–2.9 %), a more posterior dorsal-fin origin (horizontal distance between the origin and a vertical through the anus 83 % of head length vs. 36–54 %), no groove on the ventral side of its snout, and a dark lower jaw with a patch of melanophores on the ventral side of its branchial basket.


Ophichthidae Scolecenchelys New species Sea of Japan Pacific Ocean 



We are deeply indebted to M. McGrother and S. Reader (AMS), G. Ogihara (KAUM), K. Hatooka (OMNH), and R. Bills and B. Konqobe (SAIAB) for their measurements and photographs of some of the type specimens. We express our sincere gratitude to the following persons and institutions for their assistance and specimen loans: M. McGrouther (AMS); M. Sabaj (ANSP); J. Macline (BMNH); H. Endo (BSKU); D. Catania (CAS); T. Nakabo (FAKU); G. Duhamel, P. Pruvost, and R. Causse (MNHN); K. Matsuura and G. Shinohara (NSMT); J.T. Williams (USNM). Lastly, we cordially thank John E. McCosker (CAS) for his critical comments on the manuscript and great help with the English.


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Copyright information

© The Ichthyological Society of Japan 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Fisheries Research LaboratoryMie UniversityShimaJapan
  2. 2.Maizuru Fisheries Research Station, Field Science Education and Research CenterKyoto UniversityMaizuruJapan

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