Morphology Data of Erpetoichthys calabaricus
Identification keys
Main Ref. Gosse, J.P. and J. Daget, 2003
Appearance refers to
Bones in OsteoBase

Sex attributes

Specialized organs other
Different appearance
Different colors
Remarks Males have a larger, broader and more muscular anal fin compared to females (Ref. 35355, 78138); sometimes it is said that males have 12-14 anal fin-rays and females have 9-12 anal fin-rays (Ref. 42873).

Descriptive characteristics of juvenile and adult

Striking features none
Body shape lateral eel-like
Cross section circular
Dorsal head profile more or less straight
Type of eyes more or less normal
Type of mouth/snout more or less normal
Position of mouth terminal
Type of scales ganoid scales

Diagnosis: The dorsal fin is composed of a series of well-separated spines each supporting one or several articulated rays and a membrane (Ref. 42791). Erpetoichthys calabaricus is distinguished from all Polypterus species by its very elongated, anguilliform body and the absence of ventral fin and subopercle (Ref. 2835, 42768, 81263).

Description: Body extremely elongate and anguilliform; subcylindrical, the height of which is comprised up to 24 times in standard length and head length 11 to 14 times in standard length (Ref. 2835, 42768, 42908, 81263, 81628). Head without subopercle, very faintly flattened, 1,6 to 2 times longer than broad; upper jaw prominent (Ref. 2835, 42908, 81263). Eye lateral, its diameter comprised 7,5 to 8,5 times in head length (Ref. 2835, 81263, 81628). Pelvic fins and girdle absent (Ref. 81628). Dorsal fin with 7-13 fin rays, largely separated from the others; anal fin with 9-14 rays; ventral fin absent (Ref. 2835, 42908, 81263, 81628). Body covered with rhombic ganoid scales (Ref. 42791): 106-114 in lateral line, 30-34 around body, 28-33 predorsal scales, 48-51 prepelvic scales; lateral line scales simply perforated (Ref. 2835, 42908, 81263, 81628).

Colouration: In alcohol, colour is uniformly olive brown on the back and upper part of the flanks, whitish to beige on belly (Ref. 2835, 81263, 81628). A broad dark spot on pectoral fins, extending almost to the tip of the fin rays (Ref. 2835, 81263, 81628).

Ease of Identification

Meristic characteristics of Erpetoichthys calabaricus

Lateral Lines 1 Interrupted: No
Scales on lateral line 106 - 114
Pored lateral line scales
Scales in lateral series
Scale rows above lateral line
Scale rows below lateral line
Scales around caudal peduncle
Barbels 0
Gill clefts (sharks/rays only)
Gill rakers
on lower limb
on upper limb
total 110 - 113


Dorsal fin(s)

Attributes other
Fins number 1
Finlets No. Dorsal   
Spines total 7 - 13
Soft-rays total 0 - 0
Adipose fin absent

Caudal fin

Attributes more or less truncate; more or less normal

Anal fin(s)

Fins number 1
Spines total 0 - 0
Soft-rays total 9 - 14

Paired fins

Pectoral Attributes  more or less normal
Spines     0
Soft-rays   18 - 21
Pelvics Attributes  suppressed/absent
Position    absent
Spines     0
Soft-rays   0 - 0
Main Ref. (e.g. 9948)
Glossary ( e.g. cephalopods )
Entered by Palomares, Maria Lourdes D.
Modified by Bailly, Nicolas
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