Ichthyological Research

, Volume 66, Issue 1, pp 160–165 | Cite as

New morphological data and live photographs of the rare subterranean blind cave eel Ophisternon candidum (Synbranchidae) from north-western Australia

  • Glenn I. MooreEmail author
Short Report


The rare blind cave eel Ophisternon candidum is restricted to a few populations and was originally described on the basis of only two specimens. The holotype and paratype were re-examined to provide revised and additional morphometrics. Nine more recently collected specimens, across a range of sizes, were also examined to provide an updated and expanded description of morphometrics for the species. Sensory head pores were identified and described for the first time in this species and a series of fresh colour photographs of both juvenile and adult specimens are provided suggesting ontogenetic ocular degeneration and vascularisation that may have evolved in response to a life in darkness.


Anchialine Pilbara X-ray Head pores Anommatophasma 



I thank the following: Biota Environmental Sciences, Peter Kendrick (Parks and Wildlife Service), Bennelongia Environmental Consultants, Chevron Australia, Rio Tinto. I am indebted to Mark Allen and Sue Morrison for technical support and photography. Wendy Crawford of the Western Australian Museum sourced several important references. Radford Arrindell kindly provided information on the specimen held at the AMNH. Recent specimens were opportunistically collected during mining activities, with relevant Western Australian environmental regulatory approval and permits, and donated to the Western Australian Museum. All collections and research comply with Australian law.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The author declares no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

10228_2018_647_MOESM1_ESM.tif (21.5 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (TIFF 21984 kb)


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Copyright information

© The Ichthyological Society of Japan 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Fish SectionWestern Australian MuseumWelshpoolAustralia

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