Elongate Shore Eel, Alabes elongata Hutchins & Morrison 2004

The holotype of the Elongate Shore-eel, Alabes elongata, from the Recherche Archipelago, Western Australia, a male, WAM P.28296-003, 86 mm SL. Source: Barry Hutchins / Western Australian Museum. License: CC By Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike

A pale brownish shore eel with fine darker brown mottling along the sides, extending onto the fins. Small individuals may be more greenish without markings. 

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2021, Alabes elongata in Fishes of Australia, accessed 23 May 2024, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/Home/species/1142

Elongate Shore Eel, Alabes elongata Hutchins & Morrison 2004

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Endemic to south Western Australia, from Israelite Bay to Cervantes. Inhabits shallow seagrass, weed and reef areas, from the intertidal to a depth of 15 m.


Caudal fin 7-8; Pelvic fin 3; Vertebrae (total) 66-78.
Body very elongate, moderately compressed; head very short; eyes small; mouth small, reaching to below front part of eye; gill opening a small slit on underside of head, its width equal to or greater than eye diameter; single sensory pore dorso-posterior to eye; dorsal, anal and caudal fins continuous, dorsal and anal elongate, without fin rays; pectoral fins absent; pelvic fins rudimentary, positioned immediately behind gill opening.


Overall pale creamy-brown or green, with fine mottling of darker brown tending to form narrow, somewhat irregular cross bars on anterior portion of body, breaking up into a fine irregular reticulate pattern enclosing pale spots on posterior two-thirds ( pattern extending onto fins); head with faint darker cross bars, red colour of gills visible through skin. Some smaller individuals are green without markings.

Similar Species

Alabes elongata differs from other species of Alabes in having the following combination of characters: elongate but robust body (depth 12.5–14.9 in SL), large gill slit (2.9–4.4 in HL), prominent rudimentary pelvic fin with obvious fin rays, single postocular pore on each side of head, and unique colour pattern. A. elongata is most similar to Alabes dorsalis, differing in having a more elongate body (depth usually greater than 12 times in SL versus 11 or less) and different coloration (lacks the dark circular blotches on midside of body of adult male of A. dorsalis). 


The specific name is from the Latin elongatus (= elongate) in reference to the slender body of this species compared with the relatively robust body of Alabes dorsalis.

Species Citation

Alabes elongata Hutchins & Morrison, 2004, Rec. Aust. Mus. 56: 150, fig. 2.
Type locality: East side of Mondrain Island, 34°08'S, 122°15'E, Recherche Archipelago, Western Australia, depth 5-6 m.


Bray, D.J. 2021


Atlas of Living Australia

Elongate Shore Eel, Alabes elongata Hutchins & Morrison 2004


Hutchins, J.B. 1994. Family Gobiesocidae. pp. 305-324, figs 269-289 in Gomon, M.F., Glover, C.J.M. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds). The Fishes of Australia's South Coast. Adelaide : State Printer 992 pp. 810 figs. (p. 313, as Alabes dorsalis in part, WA distribution only)

Hutchins, B. 2006. Description of two new species of shore-eels (Gobiesocidae: Cheilobranchinae: Alabes) from south-eastern Australia and Norfolk Island. Memoirs of Museum Victoria 63(1): 25-28, http://doi.org/10.24199/j.mmv.2006.63.5

Hutchins, J.B. 2008. Family Gobiesocidae. pp. 722-741 in Gomon. M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H (eds) Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp. 

Hutchins, B. & Morrison, S. 2004. Five new fish species of the genus Alabes (Gobiesocidae: Cheilobranchinae). Records of the Australian Museum 56: 147-158, https://doi.org/10.3853/j.0067-1975.56.2004.1426

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37206031

Depth:Intertidal to 15 m

Habitat:Shallow weed, seagrass & reef areas

Max Size:12 cm TL


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