Actinopteri (ray-finned fishes) > Anguilliformes
(Eels and morays) > Ophichthidae
(Snake eels) > Ophichthinae
Etymology: Pisodonophis: Greek, piso, pipisko = to drink + Greek, odous = teeth + Greek, ophis = serpent . More on author: Richardson.
Environment: milieu / climate zone / depth range / distribution range
Marine; freshwater; brackish; reef-associated; anadromous (Ref. 51243); depth range 1 - 20 m (Ref. 90102), usually - m (Ref. ). Tropical; 0°C -
Indo-Pacific: Red Sea and East Africa to French Polynesia, north to the Ogasawara Islands, south to Australia.
Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm ?  range ? - ? cm
Max length : 108 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 1479); common length : 50.0 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 7245)
Vertebrae: 152 - 163. Teeth molariform, multiserial on jaws, intermaxillary and vomer; dorsal fin with broad dark edge (Ref. 37816). Dorsal fin beginning above pectoral fin (Ref. 12693). Body snake-like, cylindrical, compressed only along extreme tail tip; anterior nostril tubular, posterior nostril along lower edge of lip; median fins not continuous posteriorly; extreme tip of tail stiff and finless; dorsal fin origin over front to middle portion of pectoral fins; lateral line inconspicuous (Ref. 4832). Variable from grey to black or brown. Large individuals have wrinkled skin (Ref. 48635).
Occurs in lagoons and estuaries, entering freshwater (Ref. 12693). Often in tidal channels where loose groups congregate, and usually seen with just the head exposed (Ref. 48635). Caught most often in tidal areas and estuaries (Ref. 12693). Caught in bag nets and similar gear. Marketed fresh (Ref. 7050).
Life cycle and mating behavior
Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae
McCosker, J.E. and P.H.J. Castle, 1986. Ophichthidae. p. 176-186. In M.M. Smith and P.C. Heemstra (eds.) Smiths' sea fishes. Springer-Verlag, Berlin. (Ref. 3972)
IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 124695)
Threat to humans
Fisheries: minor commercial
Common namesSynonymsMetabolismPredatorsEcotoxicologyReproductionMaturitySpawningSpawning aggregationFecundityEggsEgg development
ReferencesAquacultureAquaculture profileStrainsGeneticsAllele frequenciesHeritabilityDiseasesProcessingNutrientsMass conversion
Estimates based on models
Preferred temperature (Ref. 115969
): 24.2 - 29.3, mean 28.4 °C (based on 3721 cells).
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805
= 0.5020 [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.00083 (0.00042 - 0.00165), b=2.94 (2.76 - 3.12), in cm total length, based on LWR estimates for this species & (Sub)family-body (Ref. 93245
Trophic level (Ref. 69278
): 3.8 ±0.6 se; based on size and trophs of closest relatives
Resilience (Ref. 120179
): Medium, minimum population doubling time 1.4 - 4.4 years (Preliminary K or Fecundity.).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): Moderate to high vulnerability (50 of 100) .
Nutrients (Ref. 124155
): Calcium = 46.1 [23.1, 85.1] mg/100g ; Iron = 0.594 [0.367, 1.049] mg/100g ; Protein = 18.6 [16.3, 20.9] % ; Omega3 = 0.228 [0.091, 0.636] g/100g ; Selenium = 53.2 [24.8, 114.4] μg/100g ; VitaminA = 43.2 [10.2, 167.4] μg/100g ; Zinc = 1.25 [0.82, 1.85] mg/100g (wet weight);