Common name: Swamp eels


Cite this page as:
Swamp eels, SYNBRANCHIDAE in Fishes of Australia, accessed 14 Jul 2024,

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Family Taxonomy

The family Synbranchidae was reviewed by Rosen & Greenwood (1976) who recognised seven genera and 15 species. Four species are known from Australian waters. Synbranchid eels are rare in Australian waters and further studies may yield additional species.

Family Distribution

Swamp eels are known from tropical fresh waters and estuaries of Asia, the Americas, West Africa and the western tropical Pacific. Blind cave-dwelling forms are known from Australia, Africa and Mexico.

Family Size

Although most species are small, some reach 1 m.

Family Remarks

Although all species are capable of breathing air, only one species has lunglike air sacs.


Allen, G.R., Midgley, S.H. & Allen, M. (2002). Field guide to the freshwater fishes of Australia.  Perth : Western Australian Museum 394 pp. 

Rosen, D.E. & Greenwood, P.H. (1976). A fourth neotropical species of synbranchid eel and the phylogeny and systematics of synbranchiform fishes. Bull. Am. Mus. Nat. Hist. 157(1): 5–69 figs 1–67.