Basketwork Eel, Diastobranchus capensis
The basketwork eel is a cutthroat eel (family Synaphobranchidae), and the only species in the genus Diastobranchus. It is found in the South Atlantic and Indian Ocean, off South Africa, and around Australia and New Zealand. The basketwork eel is a typical eel shape, and has an especially large mouth with prominent and sharp teeth. They are so-named because they have minute scales which are arranged in an unusual pattern, and give a basketwork effect. Basketwork eels occur on, or close to the bottom, at depths from about 900 m to at least 1500 m, and are commonly found on seamounts. They grow to a length of between 80 and 120 cm, and feed on crustaceans, fishes, and in particular squids. There are no commercial fisheries for basketwork eels, but they are regularly caught as a
by-catch in fisheries targeting other deepwater species, such as orange roughy and oreos.
Words and photograph (C) Dr Matthew Dunn (NIWA).
The Census of Marine Life is a growing global network of researchers in more than 70 nations engaged in a 10-year initiative to assess and explain the diversity, distribution, and abundance of marine life in the oceans ??? past, present and future.