Actinopterygii (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: Hamilton.
Environment: milieu / climate zone / depth range / distribution range
Marine; freshwater; brackish; demersal; anadromous (Ref. 51243); depth range ? - 10 m (Ref. 86942). Tropical
Indo-West Pacific: Somalia (Ref. 30573) and Tanzania to Natal (South Africa), southern India and Sri Lanka. Also widespread elsewhere from the east Indian coast through Indonesia to Polynesia.
Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm ?  range ? - ? cm
Max length : 100.0 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 3972); common length : 70.0 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 7245)
Vertebrae: 171 - 173. Olive brown above, lighter below (Ref. 3972). Body snake-like, cylindrical, compressed only along extreme tail tip; anterior nostril tubular, posterior along lower edge of lip; teeth granular to molariform, multiserial bands on jaws and vomer, but sharper on jaws and more pointed in young individuals; median fins not continuous posteriorly; extreme tip of tail stiff and finless; dorsal fin origin about a pectoral fin length behind tips of pectoral fins; lateral line inconspicuous (Ref. 4832).
Found in lagoons and estuaries, entering freshwater and paddy fields (Ref. 30573). Common in tidal reaches and nearby upstream areas of coastal rivers (Ref. 12693). Lives in holes in the river bottom and bank and actively forages for small fishes at night (Ref. 12693). Reported to spawn in rice-paddies during the rainy season (Ref. 12693). Caught in bag nets and similar gear. Marketed fresh.
Life cycle and mating behavior
Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae
Castle, P.H.J., 1984. Ophichthidae. p. 38-39. In J. Daget, J.-P. Gosse and D.F.E. Thys van den Audenaerde (eds.) Check-list of the freshwater fishes of Africa (CLOFFA). ORSTOM, Paris and MRAC, Tervuren. Vol. 1. (Ref. 3508)
IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 123251)
CITES (Ref. 118484)
Threat to humans
Fisheries: minor commercial; bait: usually
Common namesSynonymsMetabolismPredatorsEcotoxicologyReproductionMaturitySpawningSpawning aggregationFecundityEggsEgg development
ReferencesAquacultureAquaculture profileStrainsGeneticsAllele frequenciesHeritabilityDiseasesProcessingMass conversion
Estimates based on models
Preferred temperature (Ref. 115969
): 24.6 - 29.2, mean 28.5 °C (based on 2626 cells).
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805
= 0.5020 [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.00126 (0.00063 - 0.00252), b=2.90 (2.72 - 3.08), in cm total length, based on LWR estimates for this species & (Sub)family-body (Ref. 93245
Trophic level (Ref. 69278
): 4.0 ±0.71 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
): Moderate to high vulnerability (45 of 100) .