Actinopteri (ray-finned fishes) > Anguilliformes
(Eels and morays) > Ophichthidae
(Snake eels) > Ophichthinae
Etymology: Luthulenchelys: Named for Chief Albert John Mvumbi Luthuli of KwaZulu-Natal, Africa's first winner of the Nobel Peace Prize and former President of the African National Congress; and 'enchelys' from ancient Greek meaning eel, feminine.; heemstraorum: Named for Phil and Elaine Heemstra. More on author: McCosker.
Environment: milieu / climate zone / depth range / distribution range
Marine; benthopelagic; depth range ? - 460 m (Ref. 58467). Tropical
Western Indian Ocean: presently known only from South Africa.
Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm ?  range ? - ? cm
Max length : 47.3 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 58467)
Morphology | Morphometrics
This species is distinguished by an body with tail 62%, head 7.2%, and body depth at gill opening 1.3% of total length; dorsal-fin origin nearly 2 head lengths behind pectoral-fin tips; pectoral fin elongate; posterior nostril a hole within upper lip, covered by a flap that extends below edge of lip; no barbels on upper lip and a no slit at posterior nostril; pores small
but conspicuous, SO 1 + 4, IO 4 + 2, POM5 + 2; teeth small and conical, biserial on upper jaw, uniserial on lower jaw, a single vomerine tooth; coloration uniform grey-black; vertebral formula 20/61/165. Counts and measurements of the holotype (in mm): total length 472; head 34.0; trunk 144; tail 294; predorsal distance 64; pectoral-fin length 8.25; pectoral base 2.4;
body depth ~6 at gill openings; body width ~6 at gill openings; body depth ~5 at anus; body width ~5 at anus; snout 7.5; tip of snout to rictus 11.2; snout overhang 3.5; eye diameter 3.0; interorbital width 3.5; gill opening height 3.1; isthmus width 2.6 (Ref. 58467).
Life cycle and mating behavior
Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae
McCosker, J.E., 2007. Luthulenchelys heemstraorum, a new genus and species of snake eel (Anguilliformes: Ophichthidae) from KwaZulu-Natal, with comments on Ophichthus rutidoderma (Bleeker, 1853) and its synonyms. Smithiana Bull. 7:3-7. (Ref. 58467)
IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 123251)
CITES (Ref. 123416)
Threat to humans
Common namesSynonymsMetabolismPredatorsEcotoxicologyReproductionMaturitySpawningSpawning aggregationFecundityEggsEgg development
ReferencesAquacultureAquaculture profileStrainsGeneticsAllele frequenciesHeritabilityDiseasesProcessingNutrientsMass conversion
Estimates based on models
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805
= 1.0000 [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.00126 (0.00052 - 0.00302), b=2.91 (2.70 - 3.12), in cm total length, based on LWR estimates for this (Sub)family-body shape (Ref. 93245
Trophic level (Ref. 69278
): 3.8 ±0.6 se; based on size and trophs of closest relatives
Resilience (Ref. 120179
): High, minimum population doubling time less than 15 months (Preliminary K or Fecundity.).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): Low to moderate vulnerability (29 of 100) .