Darkfin Pike Eel, Muraenesox cinereus (Forsskål 1775)

Other Names: Daggertooth Pike Conger, Dark-finned Pike-eel, Pike Eel, Silver Eel

A Darkfin Pike Eel, Muraenesox cinereus. Source: Australian National Fish Collection, CSIRO. License: CC BY Attribution-Noncommercial


A large predatory eel found on soft bottoms from the intertidal region to a depth of about 300 metres

Identifying features: Snout long, posterior nostrils much closer to the eye than to the nterior nostrils; mouth very large with large, conspicuous teeth; head broad; 44-47 lateral line pores before anus.

Cite this page as:
Dianne J. Bray, Muraenesox cinereus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 17 Jun 2024, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/2043

Darkfin Pike Eel, Muraenesox cinereus (Forsskål 1775)

More Info


Shark Bay, Western Australia, to Keppel Bay, Queensland. Elsewhere, the species occurs in the tropical, Indo-west Pacific. Inhabits soft bottom areas in estuaries and coastal waters to a depth of 300 m.


Dorsal-fin rays before anus 66-78; Lateral-line pores before anus 44-47; Vertebrae: 145-159. 
Head broad, interorbital about 8 times in head length; snout long; eye diameter 2-2.5 times in snout length; mouth very large; teeth generally large, conspicuous; posterior nostrils much closer to eyes than to anterior nostrils.


Feeds on small benthic fishes and crustaceans.


Fished commercially and aquacultured in Japan.

Similar Species

Differs from the Common Pike Eel, Muraenesox bagio, in having a broader head, more dorsal-fin rays before the anus (66-78 vs. 47-49 in M. bagio), more vertebrae and more lateral-line pores before the anus (44-47 vs. 33-39 in M. bagio).

Species Citation

Muraena cinerea Forsskål 1775, Descriptiones animalium: x, 22. Type locality: Djedda, Red Sea.


Dianne J. Bray


Australian Faunal Directory

Darkfin Pike Eel, Muraenesox cinereus (Forsskål 1775)


Castle, P.H.J. & Williamson, G.R. 1975. Systematics and distribution of eels of the Muraenesox group (Anguilliformes, Muraenesocidae). A preliminary report and key. Special Publication of the J.L.B. Smith Institute of Ichthyology Rhodes University 15: 1-9 figs 1-4

Devadoss, P. & P.K.M. Pillai. 1979. Observations on the food and feeding habits of the eel, Muraenesox cinereus (Forskal) from Porto Novo. Indian J. Fish. 26(1): 244-247.

Forsskål, P. 1775. Descriptiones animalium avium, amphibiorum, piscium, insectorum, vermium; quae in itinere orientali observavit Petrus Forskål. Post mortem auctoris edidit Carsten Niebuhr. Adjuncta est materia medica kahirina atque tabula maris rubri geographica. Hauniae : Mölleri 1-20 + i-xxxiv + 1-164, 43, pls.

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.

Grant, E.M. 1975. Guide to Fishes. Brisbane : Queensland Government, Co-ordinator General’s Department 640 pp.

Miller, J.M. & Tsukamoto, K. 2004. An introduction to leptocephali biology and identification. Ocean Research Institute, The University of Tokyo. 96 pp.

Russell, B.C. & Houston, W. 1989. Offshore fishes of the Arafura Sea. The Beagle, Records of the Museums and Art Galleries of the Northern Territory 6(1): 69-84.

Sainsbury, K.J., Kailola, P.J. & Leyland, G.G. 1985. Continental Shelf Fishes of Northern and North-Western Australia. Canberra : Fisheries Information Service 375 pp. figs & pls.

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 1397-2068 pp.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37063002

Biology:Leptocephalus larva

Danger:May be aggressive when caught

Depth:1-300 m

Habitat:Marine, estuarine, soft bottom

Max Size:220 cm TL

Species Image Gallery

Species Maps

CAAB distribution map