Myrichthys breviceps

Myrichthys breviceps is a species belonging to the order of eels that is native to the western Atlantic Ocean, from the coast of Florida, where they may be present but are not very abundant, to the coast of Brazil. They can reach sizes of up to 100 cm in length. They live in shallow water seagrasses, sandy bottoms or areas adjacent to coral reefs.

The body of Myrichthys breviceps is thin and eel-like. Its base coloration is a grayish - greenish color and there are multiple circular spots of pale yellow along its body. In the region of the head, these circular spots adopt more intense tones of yellow - orange colors and are of reduced size. Its head has short jaws, with the upper one standing out over the lower one. In the interior of the mouth we find some blunt teeth that form multiple rows in both jaws as well as in the palate of the specimen. From the exterior part of the upper jaw and in a terminal but slightly lateral situation, two tubular structures emerge, the nostrils, which protrude considerably. The head is completed with 2 eyes of moderate size located in a lateral position. If we continue, behind the region of the head, and towards the tail, we find some gill openings on the sides, which take on a crescent shape. Next are the pectoral fins, very reduced in size and short in length, but with a fairly wide base for attachment to the body.

The pelvic and dorsal fins of Myrichthys breviceps are another distinctive feature of the species. On the other hand, this species lacks pelvic fins. On the other hand, its dorsal fin is born at the height of the nape of the head, and previously at the height of the gill openings. This dorsal fin extends along the entire length of the specimen, except for the last few centimeters of the animal's body. This causes the tail to end in a blunt tip structure.

Predominantly nocturnal, Myrichthys breviceps feeds on small fish, crabs and other crustaceans that it catches after sunset. During the day, the specimens are usually hidden in crevices or caves of the reefs. Sometimes, if they feel intimidated, they use their pointed tail, to bury themselves in the sea bottom, leaving only their head uncovered outside. Generally, this species is not afraid of the presence of divers, and will allow us to approach without any problem.


Photos: