Shorttail Conger

Shorttail Conger, Paraconger similis

The Shorttail Conger, Paraconger similis, whose common Spanish name is congrio colicorta, is a species in the Family Congridae, the Conger Eels, known as congrios in Mexico. Globally, there are only seven species in the genus Paraconger, of which three are found in Mexican waters, one in the Atlantic and two in the Pacific.

The Shorttail Conger has an elongated cylindrical “eel-like” body. They are a tan to reddish brown transitioning to silvery ventrally and lack other significant markings. The margins of their anal and dorsal fins are tan. The heads are long with a rounded tapering snout with a large mouth and large eyes. The caudal fin is short and stiff, the dorsal fin origin is over the well-developed yellow pectoral fins. The tail length is approximately 57% of total length. They have a complete lateral line.

The Shorttail Congers reside buried within coastal sandy bottoms at depths between 160 to 490 feet. They reach a maximum total length of 74 cm (29 inches), established by a fish in my possession and described below. They are a rare and poorly studied species and as such very limited information is available about their behavioral patterns. They are found around the tip of Baja (established by fishes in my possession) and along the coast of the mainland from Mazatlán south to Guatemala.

The Shorttail Conger can be confused with the Sharpnose Conger, Ariosoma gilberti (tail is 50% of total length), and the Ringeye Conger, Paraconger californiensis (ring in iris 80% complete, black spot at edge of eye).

The Shorttail Conger is relatively small, exceedingly rare, and of limited interests to most.

Shorttail Conger (1)

Shorttail Conger, Paraconger similis: Fist caught 10 miles north of Puerto Los Cabos, Baja California Sur, March 2007. Note: six identical eels were caught on the same day with lengths varying from 25 cm (10 inches) to 30 cm (12 inches). Their tail lengths varied from 54.6% to 57.7%. Species identity reconfirmed by Dr. Richard Rosenblatt, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, CA. A 74 cm (29 inch) fish (head 16.2%, trunk 26.3%; tail 57.5%) was provided by the commercial fishermen of greater Los Cabos area, March, 2011 that exceeded the maximum known length of this species by a full 22 cm (8.7 inches). Identification of that fish courtesy of Dr. David Smith, Smithsonian Institute, Washington, D.C.
Shorttail Conger, Paraconger similis: Fish caught 10 miles north of Puerto Los Cabos, Baja California Sur, March 2007. Note: six identical eels were caught on the same day with lengths varying from 25 cm (10 inches) to 30 cm (12 inches). Their tail lengths varied from 54.6% to 57.7%. Species identity reconfirmed by Dr. Richard Rosenblatt, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, CA. A 74 cm (29 inch) fish (head 16.2%, trunk 26.3%; tail 57.5%) was provided by the commercial fishermen of greater Los Cabos area, March, 2011 that exceeded the maximum known length of this species by a full 22 cm (8.7 inches). Identification of that fish courtesy of Dr. David Smith, Smithsonian Institute, Washington, D.C.