Pacific Worm Eel

Pacific Worm Eel, Myrophis vafer

The Pacific Worm Eel, Myrophis vafer, whose common Spanish name is tieso lombriz, is a species in the Snake Eel or Ophichthidae Family, known collectively as tiesos in Mexico. Globally, there are only eight species in the genus Myrophis, three of which are found in Mexican waters, two in the Atlantic and one in the Pacific.

The Pacific Worm Eels have elongated compressed bodies. They are a uniform gray-brown with dark speckles dorsally and transition to off-white ventrally. Their head has a conical overhanging snout, large eyes, small conical teeth, and a small gill opening at the corner of their pectoral base. Their anal and dorsal fins are confluent with their tail and their dorsal fin originates before mid-trunk. Their pectoral fins are well-developed and have a broad base. Their lateral line is complete and their long tail is 58 to 64% of total length.

The Pacific Worm Eels are demersal and non-burrowing fish that are found over soft sandy and muddy bottoms at depths up to 50 feet. The young are attracted to the lit surface at night. They reach a maximum length of 47 cm (19 inches). They are a fairly common species, however are seldom seen by most humans, thus very little is known about their behavioral patterns.

In Mexican waters the Pacific Worm Eel are found in all waters of the Pacific.

The Pacific Worm Eel can be confused with the Elastic Eel, Phaenomonas pinnata (tail 25% of total length) and the Smalleye Spaghetti Eel, Neoconger vermiformis (tail 50% of total length).

The Pacific Worm Eels are too small to be of interest to most. They are harmless to humans.

Pacific Worm Eel (1)

Pacific Worm Eel, Myrophis vafer. Fish provided by the commercial fishermen of the greater Los Cabos area, Baja California Sur, May 2012. Length: 30 cm (12 inches); Tail: 62%.