Latin name

Muraenesox cinereus

Other names

Darkfin pike eel 


The muzzle is long. The diameter of the eyes is 2-2.5 times the length of the muzzle. The front nostrils are in the form of a short tube, behind the notch on the muzzle, the rear nostrils are much closer to the eyes than the front nostrils. The mouth is very large, the upper jaw slightly longer than the lower. Teeth tend to be large and protruding. The head is broader, the interorbital spaces are about 8 times wider than the head. Pores of lateral line in front of anus 44-47. Vertebrae: 145-159. 

Features of fish fins

Dorsal processes (total): 0. Anal processes: 0. Dorsal fin rays anterior to anus 66-78.

Fish colouring

The sides of the body are silvery. Blackish brown in formalin. Vertical fin with broad black margins.


Indo-West Pacific: Red Sea, Persian Gulf, west coast of India and Sri Lanka to Fiji and Tuvalu, north to Japan and Korea, south to Arafura Sea and northern Australia. Migrates to the Mediterranean through the Suez Canal.


A marine, freshwater, brackish, bottom-dwelling, oceanodromous, subtropical species. They live mainly on soft bottoms down to depths of 800 m (2,600 ft), in estuaries and desalinated lagoons. 


Reaches about 1.5 m (4.9 ft) in length, but can grow to 2.2 m (7.2 ft). Maximum reported age: 15 years. 

Food and feeding habits

Feeds on small bottom dwelling fish and crustaceans. 


Muraenesox cinereus spawns off the coast of Japan in June and July and metamorphoses from late August to October. As a result of metamorphosis, the length decreases from 100-115 mm to 74 mm; metamorphosis takes about 15 days at 20°.


It is a major target of trawling in the Yellow Sea and East China Sea. Captured and farmed in Japan.

Relationship with a person

It is eaten in Japanese cuisine. They are used in Chinese medicine.

Phylum Chordata
Class Actinopterygii
Squad Anguilliformes
Family Muraenesocidae
Genus Muraenesox
Species M. cinereus
Conservation status Least Concern
Habitat Bottom
Life span, years 15
Maximum body weight, kg No information
Maximum length, cm 220
Sailing speed, m/s No information
Threat to people Edible
Way of eating Predator

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