Frillgill Conger, Blachea xenobranchialis Karrer & Smith 1980

A congrid eel characterized by the free ends of three branchiostegal rays that protrude from the membrane in front of the gill opening, and by the large, cavernous lateral line with pores reduced in number and arranged in dorsoventral pairs.

Cite this page as:
Dianne J. Bray, Blachea xenobranchialis in Fishes of Australia, accessed 14 Jul 2024,

Frillgill Conger, Blachea xenobranchialis Karrer & Smith 1980

More Info


Recorded in Australia from W of Dorre Island to E of Scott Reef, Western Australia, and the Coral Sea off Queensland (NE of Cape Melville to E of Innisfail). Elsewhere, widespread in the Indo-Pacific. Trawled from soft bottom habitats on the upper continental slope.


Vertebrae: 158–160 total vertebrae, 81–84 precaudal vertebrae and 75–79 caudal vertebrae.


The genus is named Blachea for J. Blanche, in recognition of his many contributions to the knowledge on anguilliform fishes, both adults and larvae. The species name xenobranchialis is from the Greek xenos (= strange) and branchos (= gill), in reference to the unique free branchiostegals of this species.

Species Citation

Blachea xenobranchialis Karrer. & Smith, 1980, Copeia 1980(4): 643, figs 1-6. Type locality: Mozambique Channel. 


Dianne J. Bray

Frillgill Conger, Blachea xenobranchialis Karrer & Smith 1980


Gloerfelt-Tarp, T. & Kailola, P.J. 1984. Trawled Fishes of Southern Indonesia and Northwest Australia. Jakarta : Dir. Gen. Fish. (Indonesia), German Tech. Coop., Aust. Dev. Ass. Bur. 406 pp.

Karrer, C. & Smith, D.G. 1980. A new genus and species of congrid eel from the Indo-west Pacific. Copeia 1980(4): 642-648 figs 1-6

Williams, A., Last, P.R., Gomon, M.F. & Paxton, J.R. 1996. Species composition and checklist of the demersal ichthyofauna of the continental slope off Western Australia (20–35º). Records of the Western Australian Museum 18: 135-155

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37067010

Depth:280-445 m

Habitat:Benthic, soft bottom

Max Size:48 cm TL

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map