Myrichthys colubrinus Click to enlarge image
A Harlequin Snake Eel at a depth of 2 m, Coral Bay, Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia, April 2007. u000d Image: A. Donnelly
© A. Donnelly

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    colubrinus
    Genus
    Myrichthys
    Family
    Ophichthidae
    Order
    Anguilliformes
    Class
    Actinopterygii
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    It grows to about 90 cm in length.

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.

Identification

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.

Habitat

The Harlequin Snake Eel is a burrowing species that lives in sandy areas of coral reefs and inshore waters.

Distribution

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.



References

  1. Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Western Australian Museum. Pp. 292.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. New Holland. Pp. 433.
  5. Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & R.C. Steene. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Crawford House Press. Pp. 557.