Brachysomophis crocodilinus (Bennett, 1833)
Crocodile snake eel
photo by Randall, J.E.

Family:  Ophichthidae (Snake eels), subfamily: Ophichthinae
Max. size:  120 cm TL (male/unsexed)
Environment:  reef-associated; depth range 0 - 30 m
Distribution:  Indo-Pacific: East Africa to the Society Islands (but not the Hawaiian Archipelago), north to Japan, south to Australia.
Diagnosis:  Vertebrae: 116-124. Dorsal fin arising well behind pectoral tips; pectoral fins teardrop-shaped; snout very short; jaws elongate; anterior nostril in a very short tube in upper lip, closely followed by an ethmoidal pore, a barbel, and the posterior nostril which is in outer lip and entirely covered by a flap; labial cirri numerous, unbranched and slender in anterior half of lip of mandible, those posterior and along lower lip branched at tips; flesh above and behind eye laterally elevated as a ridge; dorsal head profile notably incised and medially constricted behind eyes, the flesh forming a narrow transverse ridge behind dorsal margin of eyes; head pores and lateral-line pores apparent; free sensory neuromasts visible as rows of small white spots on nape; teeth conical (Ref. 42180). Lateral-line pores and temporal pores typically in dark spots; smaller dark spots present irregularly on flank between lateral line and dorsal fin of larger specimens (Ref. 42180); brownish, lighter below and on fins (Ref. 3972). Eye small, colored like the head, and placed towards the front of the long mouth (Ref. 48635). Description: Characterized by head length 6.5-8.0 in TL; depth of body 16-25 in TL; short snout, 13.0-19.0 in head length; tail length equal to or less than body length (head and trunk); numerous close-set cirri on side of jaws; upper jaw with two rows of teeth; lower jaw with well-spaced canines; largest canines in single row on intermaxilla and vomer (Ref. 90102).
Biology:  Generally found in shallow lagoon sand, rock and broken coral substrates at depths of 0-2 m (Ref. 42180). Benthic (Ref. 58302). Occurs in sandy bottoms from intertidal to over 12 m. Remains buried in sand with only the eyes protruding where it waits to ambush fish (Ref. 9710) and octopuses (Ref. 275). Used in Chinese medicine (Ref. 12166).
IUCN Red List Status: Not Evaluated (N.E.) Ref. (120744)
Threat to humans:  harmless
Country info:   

Entered by: Capuli, Estelita Emily - 17.03.95
Modified by: Kesner-Reyes, Kathleen - 13.11.07

Source and more info: For personal, classroom, and other internal use only. Not for publication.

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