Skip to main content Skip to main navigation menu Skip to site footer
Type: Article
Published: 2019-04-16
Page range: 194–200
Abstract views: 74
PDF downloaded: 2

Ophichthus chilkensis Chaudhuri, 1916 (Anguilliformes: Ophichthidae)—resurrection as a valid species from India, with re-description

Marine Fish Section, Zoological Survey of India, Kolkata, India-700 016
Estuarine Biology Regional Centre, Zoological Survey of India, Gopalpur-on-Sea, Odisha, India-761002
Bajkul Milani Mahavidyalaya, Kismat Bajkul, Purba Medinipur, W.B., India-721 655
Estuarine Biology Regional Centre, Zoological Survey of India, Gopalpur-on-Sea, Odisha, India-761002
Marine Aquarium and Regional Centre, Zoological Survey of India, Digha, India-721 428
Pisces Ophichthinae Chilika Lagoon Bay of Bengal resurrection


Ophichthus chilkensis Chaudhuri, 1916 has long been treated as a synonym of Pisodonophis cancrivorus (Richardson, 1848). O. chilkensis is hereby re-described on the basis of holotype from Chilika Lake, Odisha as well as ten fresh specimens from Talsari, Balasore district, Odisha and Digha, West Bengal. The present study confirms it belonging to the genus Ophichthus and resurrected as a valid species from the east coast of India. It is compared with its closest congener species, particularly with Ophichthus microcephalus Day, 1878, known from India.



  1. Allen, G.R. & Erdmann, M.V. (2012) Reef fishes of the East Indies. Vol. 2. Universitiy of Hawaii Press, Honolulu, 436 pp. [pp. 857–1292]

    Böhlke, E.B. (1982) Vertebral formulae of type specimens of eels (Pisces: Anguilliformes). Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, 134, 31–49.

    Chaudhuri, B.L. (1916) Fauna of Chilka Lake. Fish (Part II). Memoirs of the Indian Museum, 5, 441–458.

    Jhingran, V.G. & Natarajan, A.V. (1969) Study of the fishery and fish populations of the Chilika lake during the period 1957–65. Journal of the Inland Fisheries Society of India, 1, 47–126.

    Ji, H.S. & Kim, J.K. (2011) A new species of snake eel, Pisodonophis sangjuensis (Anguilliformes: Ophichthidae) from Korea. Zootaxa, 2758 (1), 57–68.

    Kottelat, M. (2013) The fishes of the inland waters of southeast Asia: a catalogue and core bibiography of the fishes known to occur in freshwaters, mangroves and estuaries. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology, 27 (Supplement), 1–663.

    McCosker, J.E. (1977) The osteology, classification, and relationships of the eel family Ophichthidae. Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences, 41, 1–123.

    McCosker, J.E. (2003) Ophichthidae, Snake eels (shrimp eels, worm eels, and sand eels). In: Carpenter, K.E. (Ed.), The living marine resources of the Western Central Atlantic. Vol. 2. Bony fishes part 1 (Acipenseridae to Grammatidae). FAO Species Identification Guide for Fishery Purposes and American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists Special Publication No. 5. FAO, Rome, pp. 724–733.

    McCosker, J.E. (2010) Deepwater Indo-Pacific species of the snake-eel genus Ophichthus (Anguilliformes: Ophichthidae), with the description of nine new species. Zootaxa, 2505 (1), 1–39.

    McCosker, J.E. & Castle, P.H.J. (1986) Ophichthidae. In: Smith, M.M. & Heemstra, P.C. (Eds.), Smiths' Sea Fishes. Springer-Verlag, Berlin, pp. 176–186.

    McEachran, J. & Fechhelm, J.D. (1998) Fishes of the Gulf of Mexico. Vol. 1. Myxiniformes to Gasterosteiformes. University of Texas Press, Austin, 1120 pp.

    Mohanty, S.K., Mishra, S.S., Khan, M., Mohanty, R.K., Mohapatra, A. & Pattnaik, A.K. (2015) Ichthyofaunal diversity of Chilika Lake, Odisha, India: an inventory, assessment of biodiversity status and comprehensive systematic checklist (1916–2014). Check List, 11 (6), 1–19.

    Mohapatra, A., Ray, D., Mohanty, S.R. & Mishra, S.S. (2018) Ophichthus johnmccoskeri sp. nov. (Anguilliformes: Ophichthidae): a new snake eel from Indian waters, Bay of Bengal. Zootaxa, 4462 (2), 251–256.

    Rama Rao, K.V. (1995) Pisces. In: Wetland Ecosystem. Series 1. Fauna of Chilika Lake. Zoological Survey of India, Kolkata, pp. 483–506.

    Sen, T.K. (1986) Description of a new species, Pisodonophis assamensis, a new eel from lower Assam with a key to the Indian Ophichthidae (family: Ophichthidae/genus: Pisodonophis). Bulletin of the Zoological Survey of India, 7 (2–3), 241–244.

    Smith, D.G. & McCosker, J.E. (1999) Ophichthidae, Snake eels, worm eels. In: Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, V.H. (Eds.), FAO species identification guide for fishery purposes. The living marine resources of theWestern Central Pacific. Vol. 3. Batoid fishes, chimaeras and bony fishes. Part 1. Elopidae to Linophrynidae. FAO, Rome, pp. 1662–1669.

    Talwar, P.K. & Jhingran, A.G. (1991) Inland fishes of India and adjacent countries. Vol. 1. Oxford & IBH Publishing Company, New Delhi, 541 pp.

    Talwar, P.K. & Kacker, R.K. (1984) Commercial sea fishes of India. Hand Book (4). Zoological Survey of India, Calcutta, 997 pp.

    Weber, M. & de Beaufort, L.F. (1916) The fishes of the Indo-Australian Archipelago III. Ostrariophysi: II. Cyprinoidea, Apodes, Synbranchi. E.J. Brill, Leiden, 455 pp.