Lined Conger, Bathycongrus guttulatus (Günther 1887)

A moderately large, elongate conger eel with a tapering threadlike tail, a pale body, greyish fins with a blackish caudal fin, black internal organs, a silvery-white peritoneum peppered with dark dots dorsally, and a pale mouth and gill chamber. The species has 1 or 2 enlarged teeth on vomer surrounded by several smaller teeth.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2022, Bathycongrus guttulatus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 30 Nov 2023,

Lined Conger, Bathycongrus guttulatus (Günther 1887)

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North of Monte Bello Islands to west of King Sound, Western Australia, and the Coral Sea off the Great Barrier Reef, Queensland. Elsewhere the species is widespread in the tropical, Indo-west Pacific: Western Indian Ocean east to Fiji and Hawaii, north to Taiwan, south to New Caledonia.
Inhabits soft sediment areas on the continental slope.


Lateral line pores, preanal 36-39; Vertebrae - preanal 38–40, precaudal 45–49, total vertebrae 155-162.
 Body elongate, trunk relatively long, its length 1.6–1.9 times head length, tail slender, threadlike. Head relatively small, snout long, broadly pointed, projecting beyond lower jaw; lower jaw longer than snout; fleshy part of snout with slight median keel on underside, projecting anteriorly beyond anterior end of intermaxillary tooth patch; rictus below posterior half of eye. Anterior nostril tubular, near tip of snout, directed ventrolaterally; posterior nostril elliptical, rim slightly raised, in front of eye slightly above mid-eye level. Upper lip with flange greatly reduced; lower lip with a well-developed downturned flange. Tongue free, long, and broad. Vomerine teeth forming a small triangular patch, 2 (rarely 1) enlarged central teeth surrounded by many smaller teeth. Gill opening relatively large, about equal to eye diameter, upper end nearly opposite middle of pectoral-fin base. Interbranchial broader than eye and gill opening. Dorsal fin beginning over middle of pectoral fin, continuous around tip of tail with caudal and anal fins. Anal fin beginning immediately behind anus. Pectoral fin well developed, pointed distally with a narrow base. 


Feeds on small crustaceans and fishes.

Similar Species

Bathycongrus guttulatus differs from the very similar B. wallacei, with both having 2 enlarged central teeth on the vomer. In B. guttulatus, there are more small teeth around the two large vomerine teeth, especially on the lateral sides. Other characters include: total vertebrae 158–163 in B. guttulatus (vs. 169–181 in B. wallacei); preanal lateral-line pores 33–38 (vs. 37–43); precaudal vertebrae 45–52 (vs. 52–57); and a cluster of vomerine teeth, with the central two to three somewhat larger than those of the short curved row flanking these on each side (vs. central vomerine teeth conspicuously enlarged, with just two or three smaller teeth behind).


The specific name guttulatus is from the Latin guttatus (=  dotted), in reference to the “series of extremely minute black dots above and another below the lateral line.”

Species Citation

Congromuraena guttulata Günther 1887, Report on the Scientific Results of the Voyage of H.M.S. Challenger 1873–1876, Zoology 22(57): 252. Type locality: Off Matuku, Fiji Islands, Challenger station 173, 19°19.58'S, 179°41.83'E, depth 315 fathoms.


Bray, D.J. 2022


Atlas of Living Australia

Lined Conger, Bathycongrus guttulatus (Günther 1887)


Ben-Tuvia, A. 1993. A review of the Indo-west Pacific congrid fishes of genera Rhynchoconger and Bathycongrus with the description of three new species. Israel Journal of Zoology 39(4): 349-370 (Australian paratype of B. guttulatus misidentified as B. randalli)

Castle, P.H.J. 1995. Alcock's congrid eels from the "Investigator" collections in Indian seas 1888-1894. Copeia 1995(3): 706-718

Castle, P.H.J. & Smith, D.G. 1999. A reassessment of the eels of the genus Bathycongrus in the Indo-west Pacific. Journal of Fish Biology 54(5): 973-995 

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.

Günther, A. 1887. Report on the deep-sea fishes collected by H.M.S Challenger during the years 1873–1876. Report on the Scientific Results of the Voyage of H.M.S. Challenger 1873–1876, Zoology 22(57): 1-268 figs 1-7 pls 1-66 See ref at BHL

Karmovskaya, E.S. 2009. New records of congrid eels of the genus Bathycongrus (Congridae) in the west-central tropical Pacific Ocean, with a description of threee new species. Journal of Ichthyology 49(2): 139-153

Karmovskaya, E.S. & Smith, D.G. 2008. Bathycongrus trimaculatus, a new congrid eel (Teleostei: Anguilliformes) from the southwestern Pacific, with a redescription of Bathycongrus bleekeri Fowler. Zootaxa 1943: 26-36.

McCosker, J., Smith, D.G. & Tighe, K. 2019. Bathycongrus guttulatus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2019: e.T199234A2572999. Accessed on 11 October 2022.

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. & Ho, H.-C. 2018. The congrid eel genus Bathycongrus of Taiwan, with descriptions of three new species (Anguilliformes: Congridae). Zootaxa 4454(1): 118-146.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37067022

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:270-1270 m

Habitat:Soft sediment areas

Max Size:48 cm TL

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map