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Phylum Chordata > Subphylum Vertebrate > fishes > Family Ophichthidae
Evermann's snake-eel
Ophichthus lithinus
Family Ophichthidae
updated Oct 2019
Where seen? This fat long snake-like fish is sometimes seen in reefs, usually at night. During one visit to Sisters Island, we saw four of these fishes hunting among the corals! It was previously known as Ophichthus evermanni.

Features: 30-40cm long. The fish indeed resembles a snake, with a long cylindrical body that is only flattened towards the very tip of the tail. It lacks scales. The snout is blunt and it has tubular nostrils. The tail tip is bony and sharp so it can burrow quickly, both forwards and backwards! It has pectoral fins, the dorsal fin starts above the pectoral fins. It swims by moving the body in S-shapes, rather like a sea snake. It has a pattern of dark blotches over pale yellowish background with a yellowish chin and two yellowish rings, one behind the eyes and another further back where the pectoral fins are.

Sometimes mistaken for sea snakes. Here's more on how to tell apart sea snakes, eels and eel-like animals.

What does it eat? It hunts fishes, octopuses, squids and cuttlefishes and crustaceans. It has granular teeth.

Cyrene Reef, Aug 18

Photo shared by Jonathan Tan on facebook.

Has pectoral fins and a blunt snout.
Sisters Island, Feb 07

Tubular nostrils.
Sisters Island, Oct 11

This one ate an octopus within minutes!
Sisters Island, Feb 07

Evermann's snake-eels on Singapore shores
On wildsingapore flickr

Other sightings on Singapore shores


Changi, May 17

Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on facebook.


Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal, Jun 15

Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on facebook.

Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal, Jun 15
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on facebook.


St. John's Island , Apr 12
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his blog.

Pulau Hantu, Sep 10
Photo shared by James Koh on his blog.

Terumbu Pempang Tengah, May 11
Photo shared by Rene Ong on facebook.


Terumbu Raya, Mar 11

Pulau Hantu, Oct 14
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on flickr.

Beting Bemban Besar, May 10


Beting Bemban Besar, Jun 15

Photo shared by Toh Chay Hoon on facebook.

Beting Bemban Besar, Jun 15
Photo shared by Toh Chay Hoon on facebook.


Terumbu Semakau, Jul 14

Photo shared by Marcus Ng on flickr.

Hunting, Sisters Island, Nov 15
Evermannís snake-eel (Ophichthus lithinus)

Sisters Island, 31 Dec 08

Snake Eel from SgBeachBum on Vimeo.


Acknowledgements
Grateful thanks to Kelvin K. P. Lim of the Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research for identifying this fish.

Links

Reference

  • Ria Tan and Kelvin K.P. Lim. 6 Dec 2014. Evermann's snake eel (Ophichthus lithinus) eating octopus. Singapore Biodiversity Records 2013: 87.
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