Animal Species:Harlequin Snake Eel, Myrichthys colubrinus (Boddaert, 1781)
The Harlequin Snake Eel can be recognised by its long slender body and colouration. It occurs in marine waters of the Indo-West and Central Pacific.
Standard Common Name
Harlequin Snake Eel
The Harlequin Snake Eel can be recognised by its long slender body and colouration. It is white with 25 to 32 black bands that encircle the body. As a fish ages, black spots may develop between the rings.
It grows to about 90 cm in length.
It occurs in marine waters of the Indo-West and Central Pacific. In Australia it is known from the south-western coast of Western Australia, around the tropical north and south on the east coast to northern New South Wales.
The map below shows the Australian distribution of the species based on public sightings and specimens in Australian Museums. Click on the map for detailed information. Source: Atlas of Living Australia.
Distribution by collection data
The Harlequin Snake Eel is a burrowing species that lives in sandy areas of coral reefs and inshore waters.
- Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Western Australian Museum. Pp. 292.
- Allen, G.R. & R. Swainston. 1988. The Marine Fishes of North-Western Australia. A Field Guide for Anglers and Divers. Western Australian Museum. Pp. 201.
- Hoese, D.F., Bray, D.J., Paxton, J.R. & G.R. Allen. 2006. Fishes. In Beesley, P.L. & A. Wells. (eds) Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Volume 35. ABRS & CSIRO Publishing: Australia. parts 1-3, pages 1-2178.
- Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. New Holland. Pp. 433.
- Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & R.C. Steene. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Crawford House Press. Pp. 557.
Mark McGrouther , Senior Fellow
Tags Ichthyology, Fishes, Harlequin Snake Eel, Myrichthys colubrinus, Ophichthidae, eel, marine, long and skinny, strips or bands, stripes or bands, 30 cm - 1 m, tropical water, coral reef, inshore water,