Stargazer Snake Eel, Brachysomophis cirrocheilos (Bleeker 1857)

A Stargazer Snake Eel, Brachysomophis cirrocheilos, at Dumaguete, Philippines. Source: Elias Levy / Flickr. License: CC by Attribution

A whitish to pale reddish brown snake eel with speckling and irregular brown smudges or saddles along back and sides.

Cite this page as:
Dianne J. Bray, Brachysomophis cirrocheilos in Fishes of Australia, accessed 08 Dec 2022,

Stargazer Snake Eel, Brachysomophis cirrocheilos (Bleeker 1857)

More Info


Recorded in Australia from Broome, WA, to Cooktown, QLD. Occurs elsewhere in the tropical, Indo-west Pacific.


Vertebrae 135-140. 
A moderately elongate eel, tail 51-58% SL, head 11-14% TL; dorsal head profile nearly flat from mid-head to snout tip; snout moderate, about 3.2 in jaw; jaws elongate, lower jaw extending beyond snout; nostrils close together in very short tubes on upper lip; labial fringe well-developed, numerous short cirri on lips with cauliflower-like projections on tips; outer row of maxillary teeth not visible when jaws closed. Middle of eye behind anterior 40% of jaw; interorbital space and top of head flat, head pores inconspicuous; free sensory neuromasts not visible on nape; teeth conical. Dorsal fin arising well behind pectoral-fin tips; pectoral fins not elongate. 

Species Citation

Ophisurus cirrocheilos Bleeker, 1857, Acta Soc. Scient. Indo-Neerland. 2: 89. Type locality: Ambon, Indonesia.


Dianne J. Bray

Stargazer Snake Eel, Brachysomophis cirrocheilos (Bleeker 1857)


Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Perth : Western Australian Museum 292 pp. 106 pls.

Allen, G.R. & Erdmann, M.V. 2012. Reef fishes of the East Indies. Perth : Tropical Reef Research 3 vols, 1260 pp.

Allen, G.R. & Swainston, R. 1988. The Marine Fishes of North-Western Australia. A field guide for anglers and divers. Perth, WA : Western Australian Museum vi 201 pp., 70 pls.

Bleeker, P. 1857. Achtste bijdrage tot de kennis der vischfauna van Amboina. Acta Societatis Scientiarum Indo-Neerlandicae 2: 1-102.

McCosker, J.E. 1977. The osteology, classification, and relationships of the eel family Ophichthidae. Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences 41(1): 1-123 figs 1-45

McCosker, J.E. & Randall, J.E. 2001. Revision of the snake-eel genus Brachysomophis (Anguilliformes: Ophichthidae), with description of two new species and comments on the species of Mystriophis. Indo-Pacific Fishes 33: 1-32.

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1990. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 507 pp. figs.

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 557 pp. figs.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37068011

Depth:1-15 m

Habitat:Sandy, muddy bottoms

Max Size:159 cm TL

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