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Type: Article
Published: 2020-03-10
Page range: 31–48
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Description of a new snake eel Ophichthus olivaceus (Teleostei: Anguilliformes, Ophichthidae) from the Red Sea

California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, California, U.S.A.
Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum Frankfurt, Senckenberganlage 25, 60325 Frankfurt a.M., Germany. Station of Naturalists, Omsk, Russia.
Marine Biology Department, Faculty of Marine Sciences, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum Frankfurt, Senckenberganlage 25, 60325 Frankfurt a.M., Germany.
Pisces Indian Ocean endemic species phylogenetic analysis taxonomy Ophichthinae


A new species of snake eel Ophichthus olivaceus is described based on two specimens trawled from a depth of 35–63 m from a soft substratum off Jizan, Red Sea coast of southern Saudi Arabia. It differs from its congeners by the following combination of characters: vertebrae 141–145; tail moderately short (2.15 in TL); head short (9.6–11.1 in TL); uniserial teeth in jaws and on vomer; pectoral fins slightly elongate, not lanceolate, upper rays longer than the lower; dorsal-fin origin above middle of pectoral fin; and a generally uniform, dark tan body with an olivaceous hue shading to tan or pale orange ventrally, with two pale yellow blotches above pectoral-fin base, snout and lower jaw dark brown, and olivaceous median fins. Its divergence from other mitochondrial-analyzed species is shown by phylogenetic analysis of the mitochondrial COI barcoding region. A key to the Indian Ocean species is provided.



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