Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Anguilliformes
(Eels and morays) > Ophichthidae
(Snake eels) > Ophichthinae
Etymology: Brachysomophis: Greek, brachys, eia = short + Greek, soma = body + Greek, ophis = serpent (Ref. 45335); crocodilinus: crocodilinus in reference to its appearance (Ref. 42180). More on author: Bennett.
Environment: milieu / climate zone / depth range / distribution range
Marine; reef-associated; depth range 0 - 30 m (Ref. 42180), usually 0 - 2 m (Ref. 42180). Tropical
Indo-Pacific: East Africa to the Society Islands (but not the Hawaiian Archipelago), north to Japan, south to Australia.
Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm ?  range ? - ? cm
Max length : 120 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 9710)
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).
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).
Life cycle and mating behavior
Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae
McCosker, J.E. and J.E. Randall, 2001. Revision of the snake-eel genus Brachysomophis (Anguilliformes: Ophichthidae), with description of two new species and comments on the species of Mystriophis. Indo-Pac. Fish. (33):1-32. (Ref. 42180)
IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 123251)
CITES (Ref. 118484)
Threat to humans
Common namesSynonymsMetabolismPredatorsEcotoxicologyReproductionMaturitySpawningSpawning aggregationFecundityEggsEgg development
ReferencesAquacultureAquaculture profileStrainsGeneticsAllele frequenciesHeritabilityDiseasesProcessingMass conversion
Estimates based on models
Preferred temperature (Ref. 115969
): 24.7 - 29.3, mean 28.3 °C (based on 2746 cells).
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805
= 0.5078 [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.00126 (0.00053 - 0.00297), b=2.92 (2.72 - 3.12), in cm total length, based on LWR estimates for this (Sub)family-body shape (Ref. 93245
Trophic level (Ref. 69278
): 4.1 ±0.58 se; based on food items.
Resilience (Ref. 120179
): Medium, minimum population doubling time 1.4 - 4.4 years (Preliminary K or Fecundity.).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): High vulnerability (56 of 100) .