Sharptail Eel?

Images: 
P7230062a eel.jpg
P7230063a eel.jpg

I suspect this is a Sharptail Eel, but want another opinion before adding this to a survey. We don't have any snake eels listed as being common in the northern Gulf of Mexico. I suspect it is a sharptail because the spots look too small to be a goldspotted eel. They do have a yellow center, but the book says spots on the sharptail can have that trait. This eel was in the northern Gulf of Mexico near Mexico Beach, Florida. It was on a sandy bottom in 40 feet of water. Thanks. ~Carol

It dosen't scream either

I've looked hard at your photos and tried to come up with a match. Because there is so little of the animal showing, I don't feel comfortable with any ID. Even the spots on the head seem too few to be either a Sharptail or a Goldspotted. (If I was forced to pick between those 2, though, I would pick Goldspotted) But again there are 27 different members of the snake eels alone and 14 of them have no photos to go by (listed on the H/D CD-ROM), so as far as my limited knowledge goes I can't ID this one. In conclusion, I'm almost positive it is not a Sharptail (they have numerous bright yellow (not brown) spots on the head), it may be a Goldspotted but I have a strong feeling it is something else.

I'm looking at this in my

I'm looking at this in my field guide (probably the same one you guys use, haha) and it doesn't look like a Goldspotted or a Sharptail because of the black markings on its head. Could it possibly be a Spotted Snake Eel, Ophichthus ophis?

That's one of the possibilities

That is one I looked at more closely. I liked the way the shape (slit/less round) shape of the pupil looked, and I liked the fact that one of the 9 pics showed a very pale head sticking out of the sand with very few dark spots. I didn't like that the spots look as if they are made from a finer "peppering" of dots, and that all the pics including the one with the pale head was very wrinkly looking. (Maybe young ones are not wrinkly, I don't know) Plus it seems to range more towards the lesser Antilles than the north gulf. I'm still not convinced.

Eel

Behavior of Inhabiting sand and having V shaped snout and small spots on head mkaes me conclude it is a Spotted Spoon-nose eel (Echiophis interinctus).

Much more convinced

Yes, the Spotted Spoon-nose seems a much better match. I can see no reason why it wouldn't be. It seems your photo, Carol, is of a younger specimen than the ones in the ID guides I have. Spots though not as dark or numerous seem to be in the right places; and besides, the guide states that the spots get smaller and more numerous with age. Also, though rare, it is listed for the northeastern Gulf.

Thanks fish_id.

Doesn't the Spotted

Doesn't the Spotted Spoon-Nose have a slightly broader snout and head?

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