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eel from Gulf of Mexico

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#1 BenCantrell

  • Moderator
  • San Diego, CA

Posted 20 January 2015 - 10:54 AM

Here's an interesting fish that I'd like ID help with. A guy fishing next to me in Grand Isle, Louisiana caught it.

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I found this PDF with good keys for eels in the Gulf.


Using the keys this is what I came up with.

1b - Anus posterior to throat; body usually elongate but not ribbon-like; jaws elongate or short but occlusible distally.

2a - Posterior nostril located along edge of lip, usually covered by a small flap or in a short tube, and opening into or out of mouth.

--> Snake Eels (Ophichthidae)

1b - Caudal fin absent; tip of tail stiff.

2a - Pectoral fin present.

3b - Dorsal fin origin usually posterior to gill openings.

5b - Eye approximately centered above jaw.

6b - Dorsal fin origin posterior to tips of pectoral fins.

8a - Snout overhangs lower jaw; body without any distinctive pattern.

--> Shrimp Eel (Ophichthus gomesii)

Does it look like I got it right?

#2 mzokan

  • NANFA Guest

Posted 20 January 2015 - 01:45 PM

Yup, that does look like a shrimp eel to me. They are a common species in shallow coastal waters in that part of the gulf

#3 BenCantrell

  • Moderator
  • San Diego, CA

Posted 20 January 2015 - 09:34 PM

Thanks mzokan. Here are the other fish we encountered.

Silver Perch (Bairdiella chrysoura)
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Black Drum (Pogonias cromis)
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Sheepshead (Archosargus probatocephalus)
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#4 mattknepley

  • NANFA Member
  • Smack-dab between the Savannah and the Saluda.

Posted 21 January 2015 - 06:52 PM

Wow, that sheephead is massive! ;) Must've used those enormous shark fishin' microhooks for it. (That line of yours still cracks me up every time it pops into my mind, which is surprisingly often.) Seriously though, look at those skewers that sheepshead has for dorsal rays- yikes!

Good job keying that eel out. I still have yet to effectively employ a key. I'd have gotten to 1b and defaulted to F. uglicuss...
Matt Knepley
"No thanks, a third of a gopher would merely arouse my appetite..."

#5 Betta132

  • NANFA Guest
  • San Gabriel drainage area

Posted 19 February 2015 - 02:34 AM

It looks like an old man eel. That's not a species (to my knowledge), it's a description. Eyes are kinda weird (third eyelid?) and it doesn't look like it has teeth. Are they recessed somehow?

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