ID Help --- Eel? Water Snake?

Images: 
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P1080299.JPG

i saw 6 of these this morning, 5 Nov 10,  on the sand bars, at low tide on Ft Myers Beach, Florida.   They were all dead, at least they didn't move or swim when i moved them to water.    They were about 18" long and as big around as my little finger (female).   Any ideas ?    Thanks

Spaghetti Eel

My pick is a spaghetti eel or Moringua edwardsi.  They prefer shallow clear water with sandy bottoms.  The range is correct.  Also, the DVD says "It is suspected that adults die shortly after spawnig" which could explain why you found several dead eels--they died happy!

You can find an image at http://www.flickriver.com/photos/tags/muraenidae/interesting/ but be patient.  The photos took a little while to download on my laptop.

Probably not a spaghetti eel

The spaghetti eel is a very slender, elongate, cylindrical eel with a PROJECTING lower jaw.  The top photo does not indicate an eel with a projecting lower jaw so it's probably not a spaghetti eel. 

Genus Bascanichthys

Agree not spaghetti based on shape of jaw. Several similar species in the genus Bascanichthys, but due to the white spots on the lateral line, I believe this is a Whip Eel. Now this is just speculation, I'm no expert on their behavior: It looks like (because the second one is still partially in its den) either the tide fell too much or to quickly exposing this sand bar and trapped them there.

Maybe

The photo doesn't show a small pectoral fin located just behind the gill opening.  Although the fin is small in whip eels, it should still be visible in the photo - but I don't see it.

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