Earthworm eel

Earthworm eel
Earthworm eels
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Synbranchiformes
Suborder: Mastacembeloidei
Family: Chaudhuriidae


The earthworm eels are a family (Chaudhuriidae) of small freshwater eel-like fish related to the swamp eels and spiny eels. The ten known species (as of 2011) are literally the size and shape of earthworms, thus the family name. While one species, the Burmese spineless eel (Chaudhuria caudata) was reported from the Inle Lake by Nelson Annandale in 1918, the others have been only recently reported (since the 1970s), all in the eastern Asia area, from India to Korea.

Neither the dorsal nor anal fins have spines, and in Nagaichthys and Pillaia they have fused with the caudal fin; in the other genera the caudal is small but separate. The bodies have no scales. The few specimens found to date have been no longer than 8 cm, and Nagaichthys filipes is only known to reach 3.1 cm. The eye is small, covered in thick skin.

Almost nothing is known of the habits and biology of the earthworm eels.

The family name "Chaudhuriidae" comes from a Burmese local name for a fish.


The family currently includes ten described species in six genera.[1]

Family Synbranchidae

  • Genus Bihunichthys Kottelat & Lim, 1994
    • Bihunichthys monopteroides Kottelat & Lim, 1994
  • Genus Chaudhuria Annandale, 1918
    • Burmese Spineless Eel, (Chaudhuria caudata) Annandale, 1918
    • Chaudhuria fusipinnis Kottelat & Britz, 2000
    • Chaudhuria ritvae Britz, 2010
  • Genus Chendol Kottelat & Lim, 1994
  • Genus Garo Yazdani & Talwar, 1981
    • Garo Spineless Eel, (Garo khajuriai) (Talwar, Yazdani & Kundu, 1977)
  • Genus Nagaichthys Kottelat & Lim, 1991
    • Nagaichthys filipes - Kottelat & Lim, 1991
  • Genus Pillaia Yazdani, 1972
    • Hillstream Spineless Eel, (Pillaia indica) Yazdani, 1972
    • Pillaia kachinica - Kullander, Britz & Fang, 2000


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