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.
grey to brown with black line on the edge of dorsal, anal and caudal fins.
common 80 - 120 cm (max. 160 cm).
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.
benthic, on muddy and sandy substrate; the Mediterranean specimen was collected at 50 m depth. In the Red Sea inhabit 100 - 700 m.