Bridge Duckbill Eel, Nettenchelys gephyra Castle & Smith 1981

A pink to dark purple or brown duckbill eel with a dark purple to brown snout and dorsal body, with a pink and pale abdomen, and a pink to purple area behind the eye, on the back of the head and around the gill opening. The myomeres are visible and darkish around the midbody, and the dorsal and anal fins  Dorsal and anal fins are dark-edged, both becoming black posteriorly.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2022, Nettenchelys gephyra in Fishes of Australia, accessed 24 Mar 2023,

Bridge Duckbill Eel, Nettenchelys gephyra Castle & Smith 1981

More Info


Coral Sea east of Dunk Island to NE of Heron Island, Queensland. Elsewhere the species occurs in the tropical, west Pacific: Indonesia, Taiwan and New Caledonia. 


Lateral line pores - Preanal lateral line pores 39-51, Predorsal lateral-line pores 7-8; Infraorbital pores 8-9 + 3-4; Supraorbital pores 5; Preoperculomandibular pores 11-15; Supratemporal pores 3; Vertebrae - Predorsal 5-8, Preanal ~42, Precaudal-79-101, Total 202+.
Head and snout elongate, slightly depressed, snout flexible. Anterior nostril tubular, near tip of snout; posterior nostril on top of head, about midway between posterior margin of eye and supratemporal canal. Dorsal-fin origin slightly behind gill opening. Anus before midbody. Intermaxillary teeth in a short patch, about as long as wide, continuous with maxillary teeth. Maxillary and dentary teeth in bands, the inner teeth larger than outer. Vomerine tooth patch elongate, extending from slightly behind level of anterior nostrils to anterior margin of eye, consisting of a short median row of enlarged teeth at anterior end, followed by a narrow band of smaller teeth, the middle ones slightly enlarged.


Fresh specimens pink to dark purple or brown; snout and dorsal body dark purple to brown; abdominal region pink and pale; behind eye, occipital region, and around gill opening pink to purple; at midbody, myomeres become obvious, with darkish color. Dorsal and anal fins dark-edged, both becoming black posteriorly. In preservative, light to dark brown dorsally, and pale below.


The specific name is from the Greek gephyra (= bridge) in reference to the position of the posterior nostrils providing a link between N. pygmaea and N. inion.

Species Citation

Nettenchelys gephyra Castle & Smith in Smith, Böhlke & Castle 1981, Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 94(2): 553, figs. 8B, 11. Type locality: Bulari Pass, New Caledonia, 400m.


Bray, D.J. 2022


Atlas of Living Australia

Bridge Duckbill Eel, Nettenchelys gephyra Castle & Smith 1981


Castle, P. & Smith, D. in Smith, D.G., Böhlke, J.E. & Castle, P.H.J. 1981. A revision of the nettastomatid eel genera Nettastoma and Nettenchelys (Pisces : Anguilliformes) with descriptions of six new species. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 94(2): 535-560 figs 1-1 See ref at BHL

Fricke, R., Kulbicki, M. & Wantiez, L. 2011. Checklist of the fishes of New Caledonia, and their distribution in the Southwest Pacific Ocean (Pisces). Stuttgarter Beiträge zur Naturkunde. Serie A (Biologie) Neue Serie 4: 341-463

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.

Karmovskaya, E.S. 1999. Nettenchelys paxtoni sp. nova (Nettastomatidae, Anguilliformes): a new species from the southwestern Pacific Ocean (Vanuatu). Journal of Ichthyology 39(9): 795-798

Last, P.R., Pogonoski, J.J., Gledhill, D.C. White, W.T. & Walker, C.J. 2014. The deepwater demersal ichthyofauna of the western Coral Sea. Zootaxa 3887 (2): 191–224

Ramos-Castro, M., Loh, K.-H. & Chen, H.-M. 2021. A descriptive and comparative neurocranium morphology of Anguilliformes fishes in Taiwan waters. Zootaxa 5023(4): 509-536.

Smith, D.G. 1999. Families Colocongridae, Derichthyidae, Muraenesocidae, Nemichtyhyidae, Congridae, Nettastomatidae, Serrivomeridae, Cyematidae, Saccopharyngidae, Eurypharyngidae, Monognathidae. pp. 1670-1697 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, V.H. (eds). The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 3 pp. 1397-2068.

Smith, D.G., Lin, J., Chen, H.-M. & Pogonoski, J.J. 2015. The eels of the genus Nettenchelys, with description of a new species from Taiwan (Teleostei: Anguilliformes: Nettastomatidae). Zootaxa 4060(1): 105-120.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37065004

Depth:208-412 m

Habitat:Benthopelagic, Continental Slope

Max Size:43 cm TL

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map