Blacksaddle Snake Eel, Ophichthus cephalozona (Bleeker 1864)

Other Names: One-banded Snake-eel

A Blacksaddle Snake Eel, Ophichthus cephalozona, at Moalboal, Cebu, Philippines, January 2002 . Source: Paolo & Antidio Rossi / Fishbase. License: All rights reserved

A pale greyish-brown snake eel becoming white below, with a brown snout, a white band around the head behind the eye followed by a distinctive black patch on the back of the head, and a second white band at the pectoral-fin base. The dorsal fin is white with a black submarginal stripe, and the pectoral fins are dusky with a white margin.
Video of a Blacksaddle Snake Eel (also known as a Dark Shouldered Snake Eel) at Cebu in the Philippines.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2019, Ophichthus cephalozona in Fishes of Australia, accessed 23 May 2024,

Blacksaddle Snake Eel, Ophichthus cephalozona (Bleeker 1864)

More Info


Onslow to Brecknock Island, Western Australia, Ashmore Reef in the Timor Sea, and south of Arukun in the eastern Gulf of Carpentaria to North West Island, Queensland. The species has not been recorded from the Northern Territory. Elsewhere it occurs in the Indo-west-central Pacific.Inhabits inshore muddy to sandy areas.

Species Citation

Ophichthys cephalozona Bleeker 1864, Atlas ichthyologique des Indes Orientales Néêrlandaises 4: 49, pl.156 (fig. 2). Type locality: Singapore and Ambon, Indonesia.


Bray, D.J. 2019


Atlas of Living Australia

Blacksaddle Snake Eel, Ophichthus cephalozona (Bleeker 1864)


Allen, G.R. 1993. Fishes of Ashmore Reef and Cartier Island. Records of the Western Australian Museum, Supplement 44: 67-91 

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. 1863. Description de quelques espèces nouvelles ou peu connues d'Ophisuroïdes de l'Inde Archipélagique. Nederlandsch Tijdschrift voor de Dierkunde 1: 179-186 

Bleeker, P. 1864. Atlas Ichthyologique des Indes Orientales Néerlandaises, publié sous les auspices du Gouvernement colonial néerlandais. Tome 4. Murènes, Symbranches, Leptocéphales. Amsterdam : Fréd. Müller 132 pp. pls 145-193. See ref at BHL

Fricke, R., Kulbicki, M. & Wantiez, L. 2011. Checklist of the fishes of New Caledonia, and their distribution in the Southwest Pacific Ocean (Pisces). Stuttgarter Beiträge zur Naturkunde. Serie A (Biologie) Neue Serie 4: 341-463 

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 

Hutchins, B.J., Allen, G.R. and Sampey, A. 2014. Kimberley marine biota. Historical data: fishes. Records of the Western Australian Museum, Supplement 84: 161-206 

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. 

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.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37068028

Depth:1-30 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:115 cm TL

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Species Maps

CAAB distribution map