Ophichthus brevirostris, a new species of snake eel, subfamily Ophichthinae, is described from a specimen trawled in deep water (406–440 m) off North Carolina. It is distinguished from its congeners by the following combination of characters: large orbit; filamentous pectoral fin; two preopercular pores; short snout; minute dentition; body coloration; and vertebral formula (13/60/153). It is most similar to Ophichthus arneutes from the Galápagos, O. genie from New Caledonia and Maldives, and two undescribed congeners from Seychelles and Tonga. It differs from them in its dorsal-fin origin, dentition, and vertebral numbers. Its characteristics do not agree with that of any of the 15 known leptocephali of western Atlantic relatives.
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Vol. 2007 • No. 4