Research Associate Ken Graham discovered a strange eel in the fish collection.

Today Ken was examining deepwater eel specimens collected in New South Wales marine waters by the Fisheries Research Vessel Kapala in 1989.

Ken Graham on FRV Kapala
Fisheries Research Officer, now Australian Museum Associate, Ken Graham working aboard the Fisheries Research Vessel Kapala in 1997. Image: John Matthews
© John Matthews

Ken was a scientist on the Kapala for 25 years and has contributed thousands of specimens to the Australian Museum collections.  He is now updating identifications on many fish specimens.

Among the 'goodies' (many of which he is yet to examine) Ken was surprised to find a specimen of Venefica sp., a type of duckbill eel.

Map Pufferfish, Arothron mappa
A specimen of Venefica sp from the Ichthyology Collection (AMS I.29798-008). Image: Mark McGrouther
© Australian Museum

This fish is the first record of the species from marine waters of eastern Australia.

One of the unusual features of the genus Venefica is the fleshy protruberance on the tip of the snout.

We also collected specimens of the genus on the NORFANZ expedition in 2003 and in addition the Australian Museum fish collection contains a single specimen collected off Western Australia at depth of over 1200 m (AMS I.31168-003).