A genus with about 20 species found on sandy to muddy bottoms in warm-temperate to tropical seas of the Indo-Pacific.
Species share the following characteristics:
Body very long and slender, slightly compressed posteriorly; tip of tail bony. Head small, snout pointed; eyes small to moderate, positioned behind the mid-point of the upper jaw; posterior nostril opening downwards on edge of upper lip, covered laterally by flap three preopercular sensory pores; two infraorbital sensory pores between the anterior and posterior nostrils.; mouth relatively large, reaching to beyond eye, lower jaw shorter than snout; teeth sharp, conical, in single to triple rows in upper-jaw and vomer; gill openings, lateral, restricted. Scales absent, lateral-line pores clearly visible, continuing almost to tail tip. Dorsal and anal fins long and low; caudal fin reduced; pectoral and pelvic fins absent.
, and share the following characteristics: pectoral fins absent; eye positioned behind the mid-point of the upper jaw; conical, pointed teeth arranged in single to triple rows in upper-jaw and vomer; posterior nostril situated on the inner fold or margin of the upper lip; three preopercular sensory pores; two infraorbital sensory pores between the anterior and posterior nostrils.
Castle PHJ, McCosker JE (1999) A new genus and two new species of myrophine worm-eels, with comments on Muraenichthys and Scolecenchelys (Anguilliformes: Ophichthidae). Rec Aust Mus 51:113–122.
Hibino, Y., & Kimura, S. 2016. Revision of the Scolecenchelys gymnota species group with descriptions of two new species (Anguilliformes: Ophichthidae: Myrophinae). Ichthyological Research 63: 1–22. DOI 10.1007/s10228-015-0485-4
McCosker JE (2006) A new deepwater species of worm-eel, Scolecenchelys castlei (Anguilliformes: Ophichthidae), from New Zealand and Australia, with comments on S. breviceps and S. macroptera. J Royal Soc NZ 36: 17–26
McCosker JE, Ide S, Endo H (2012) Three new species of ophichthid eels (Anguilliformes: Ophichthidae) from Japan. Bull Natl Mus Nat Sci Ser A (Zool) (Suppl 6): 1–16.
Smith, D.G. & McCosker, J.E. 1999. Family Ophichthidae. pp. 1662-1699 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 1397-2068 pp.
Smith, D.G. & McCosker, J.E. 2008. Family Ophichthidae. pp. 166-169 in Gomon. M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H (eds). Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp.