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Marine Animal Encyclopedia

Slender Snipe Eel Nemichthys scolopaceus

This long, slender, deep-sea eel has remarkable jaws, shaped like a bird’s bill, with the ends turned out so that they can never fully close. It spends its life drifting in midwater, catching small crustaceans to eat. When the males mature and are ready to spawn, their jaws shorten, they lose all their teeth, and their front nostrils grow into large tubes. This probably enhances their sense of smell, helping them to find mature females. Little else is known of the slender snipe eel’s lifestyle, as it is rarely caught.

Slender Snipe Eel habitat mapzoom image
  • Order Anguilliformes
  • Length Up to 4 ft (1.3 m)
  • Weight Not recorded
  • Depth 300–6,600 ft (90–2,000 m)
  • Distribution Temperate and tropical seas worldwide