MURAENESOCIDAE
daggertooth pike-conger eels

  Muraenesox cinereus
(Forsskål, 1775)

Relevant synonyms
None

Misidentification
None

Meristic formula
D, 250-280; A, 185-193; P, 14; L.L. pores, 145-150

 photo : David Darom    

SHORT DESCRIPTION
Body very elongated and almost cylindrical in the first half, becoming compressed along the tail. Pectoral fin well developed. Pelvic fin absent. Dorsal fin origin before pectoral fin, continuing to tip and caudal and anal fins. Large gill opening under pectoral fin base. Large head with pointed snout. Mouth large extending back well behind eye. Upper jaw larger and overhanging. Multiserial of large and sharp teeth along jaws. A row of very large blade-like vomarine teeth with triangular tip with prominent base cusps. Skin smooth without scales.

color : grey to brown with black line on the edge of dorsal, anal and caudal fins.

size : common 80 - 120 cm (max. 160 cm).

DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERISTICS

  • Cynoponticus ferox: vomarine teeth blunt. (sharp and triangular in M. cinereus).
    Muraenidae, Heterenchelyidae and Ophichthidae (in part): lack of pectoral fin.
    Congridae and Anguillidae: dorsal fin origin above or behind pectoral fin base (clearly in front in Muraenesox).
    Ophichthidae (in part): either no caudal fin or lack of vomarine row of blade-like teeth.

    BIOLOGY / ECOLOGY
    Piscivorous. Eggs and larvae presumably planktonic.

    habitat : benthic, on muddy and sandy substrate; the Mediterranean specimen was collected at 50 m depth. In the Red Sea inhabit 100 - 700 m.


  • 1st MEDITERRANEAN RECORD
    Israel, 1982.


    DISTRIBUTION
    Worldwide : Red Sea, Indian Ocean eastward , Indonesia, Japan and northern Australia. It is not clear whether the Malayan and Pacific populations belong to separate species. A taxonomic study of the genus Muraenesox is needed to sort out the true range of M. cinereus. Mediterranean : a single specimen recorded from Israel (Golani and Ben-Tuvia, 1982).

    ESTABLISHMENT SUCCESS
    Very rare.

    speculated reasons for success :
    although never recorded in the Gulf of Suez; reached the Mediterranean due to its presumably long larval stage.


    MODE OF INTRODUCTION
    Via the Suez Canal.


    IMPORTANCE TO HUMANS
    None in the Mediterranean. Commercially important in other parts of its range, mainly in the Far East.


    KEY REFERENCES

    • Golani D. and Ben-Tuvia A., 1982. First records of the Indo-Pacific daggertooth Pike-conger, Muraenesox cinereus, in the eastern Mediterranean and in the Gulf of Elat (Gulf of Aqaba). Israel Journal of Zoology, 31:54-57.

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    Last update of the species sheet:
    March 2001

    ©ciesm 2002