Ahlia egmontis

Common Name

Key Worm Eel

Year Described

Jordan, 1884


Vertebral formula: 65-72 predorsal, 60-66 preanal, 155-167 total

Body elongated, with tail much longer than trunk. Body thin and compressed. Head broadens at throat. Jaws moderate and relatively wide with a subconical snout. Upper jaw overhangs lower. No papillae on head or lips. Anterior nostril a short tube. Posterior nostril covered in flap and opens into mouth. Teeth are well developed but small. A single line of maxillary teeth. Vomerine teeth absent. 6-9 intermaxillary teeth. Lower jaw with a single row of teeth. Gill slit low on side and immediately below pectoral base. Dorsal and anal fins confluent (Myrophinae). Dorsal fin origin behind level of anus at mid-length. Dorsal and anal fin low. Pectoral fins well developed and rounded, with a base wider than gill slit. Eye large and situated behind mid-jaw. Body pores small but apparent.


Body normally pale yellow but males can also be brown. Belly is white. Body densely covered in tiny black speckles. Eye yellow. Body pores white.


Maximum size to 44cm TL. Males average a bit smaller in size.


Taken in shallow benthic habitats around reefs and seagrass beds (<37m).


North Carolina to northern South America, including the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea.


McEachran, J.D. and J.D. Fechhelm. 1998. Fishes of the Gulf of Mexico. Volume 1: Myxiniformes to Gasterosteiformes. University of Texas Press, Austin. i-viii + 1-1112.