Brachysomophis henshawi (Reptilian snake eel)


The reptilian snake eel (Brachysomophis henshawi), is colored mottled red or yellow to white. The head is significantly smaller than the rest of its body with large eyes, and they have a depression behind the eyes. The lower jaw is elongated with alternating red and white bars. It has a row of black to brown spots, starting behind the head and running down most of its body, but this may be difficult to see because they are usually buried in sand in daytime with only their heads sticking out. They live solitary.


Unassessed by the IUCN Red list. Although widespread in the Indo-Pacific, not a common species.


Brachysomophis henshawi can be found from the Arabian Sea eastward to the Hawaiian islands and French Polynesia, South from Japan to the Coral Sea. They prefer sandy and muddy areas within or near coral and rocky reefs, in a depth range of 1-30 meters.



Up t0 120cm.

Prey / Predation

Reptilian snake eels feed on fish and crustaceans. They hunt at night and ambush their prey.

Special features

Most snake eels are skittish and will retract into their burrows when suddenly approached. The snake eel is named after Henry W. Henshaw.