Halfband Snake Eel, Malvoliophis pinguis (Günther 1872)

Other Names: Halfband Snake-Eel, Half-banded Snake-eel

A Halfband Snake Eel, Malvoliophis pinguis, in Nelson Bay, Port Stephens, New South Wales. Source: Dave Harasti / http://www.daveharasti.com/. License: All rights reserved

A pale to olive-brown snake eel with small irregular dark spots on the head, and large broad reddish-brown saddles across the back and upper side.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2019, Malvoliophis pinguis in Fishes of Australia, accessed 14 Jun 2024, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/2897

Halfband Snake Eel, Malvoliophis pinguis (Günther 1872)

More Info


Yeppoon, Queensland, to Eden, New South Wales; also Lord Howe Island in the Tasman Sea. Elsewhere the species occurs in the west Pacific. Burrows into soft sediments in depths to 200 m.


The genus Malvoliophis is named after the character Malvolio, Lady Olivia’s steward, in Shakespeare’s play Twelfth Night, in reference to the banded coloration of M. pinguis, that is suggestive of the cross-gartered legs and yellow socks worn by Malvolio.

Species Citation

Ophichthys pinguis Günther 1872, Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist. 4 10(60): .425. Type locality: Solomon Islands.


Bray, D.J. 2019


Atlas of Living Australia

Halfband Snake Eel, Malvoliophis pinguis (Günther 1872)


Allen, G.R., Hoese, D.F., Paxton, J.R., Randall, J.E., Russell, B.C., Starck, W.A., Talbot, F.H. & Whitley, G.P. 1976. Annotated checklist of the fishes of Lord Howe Island. Records of the Australian Museum 30(15): 365-454 figs 1-2 

Francis, M. 1993. Checklist of the coastal fishes of Lord Howe, Norfolk, and Kermadec Islands, southwest Pacific Ocean. Pacific Science 47(2): 136-170 figs 1-2

Grant, E.M. 2002. Guide to Fishes. Redcliffe : EM Grant Pty Ltd 880 pp.

Günther, A. 1872. On some new species of reptiles and fishes collected by J. Brenchley, Esq. Annals and Magazine of Natural History 4 10(60): 418-426. See ref at BHL

Johnson, J.W. 1999. Annotated checklist of the fishes of Moreton Bay, Queensland, Australia. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 43(2): 709-762. See ref at BHL

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 See ref at BHL

Ogilby, J.D. 1897. Some new genera and species of fishes. Proceedings of the Linnean Society of New South Wales 22(2): 245-251 (described as Bascanichthys hemizona) See ref at BHL

Smith, D.G. & McCosker, J.E. 1999. Family Ophichthidae. pp. 1662-1699 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, V.H. (eds). The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 3 pp. 1397-2068. 

Whitley, G.P. 1934. Studies in Ichthyology No. 8. Records of the Australian Museum 19(2): 153-163 figs 1-3 DOI: 10.3853/j.0067-1975.19.1933.691, open access

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37068019


Depth:4-200 m

Habitat:Soft bottoms

Max Size:53+ cm TL

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Species Maps

CAAB distribution map