Southern Snake Eel, Apterichtus australis McCosker & Randall 2005

A Southern Snake Eel, Apterichtus australis, in Nelson Bay, New South Wales, August 2015. Source: Tom Davis / License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial

A yellowish-orange snake eel with several large white blotches on the head.

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

Southern Snake Eel, Apterichtus australis McCosker & Randall 2005

More Info


Port Stephens to Botany Bay, New South Wales. Elsewhere the species occurs in the western Central Pacific: Japan, Rapa, Pitcairn Island, Easter Island and New Zealand.
Inhabits sand areas associated with rocky and coral reefs.


Vertebrae: 162-167. Body elongate, finless, tail 45-57% and head 5-5.5% of total length; 3 preopercular pores and 3 pores in supratemporal canal; teeth conical, uniserial on jaws and vomer; ; anterior nostril within an elongate tube, approximately 1/2 eye diameter, its base about midsnout and anterolaterally directed when viewed from above; posterior nostril opening in outer lip beneath anterior margin of eye; branchial openings low, ventral; branchial region modestly expanded, creating a bulbous region in posterior half of head.


The species is named australis in recognition of its distribution.

Species Citation

Apterichtus australis McCosker & Randall 2005, Zootaxa Type locality: Rapa, off Hiri Bay (27°36'S, 144°18'W), depth 30 m, captured over coarse sand adjacent to a reef using rotenone.


Bray, D.J. 2019


Catalog of Fishes

Southern Snake Eel, Apterichtus australis McCosker & Randall 2005


McCosker, J.E.  & Hibino, Y.  2015. A review of the finless snake eels of the genus Apterichtus (Anguilliformes: Ophichthidae), with the description of five new species. Zootaxa 3941(1): 49-78. (as Apterichtus flavicaudus

McCosker, J.E. & Randall, J.E. 2005. Notes on the snake eels of the genera Apterichtus and Ichthyapus (Anguilliformes: Ophichthidae) of the Central and South Pacific, with the description of a new species. Zootaxa 800: 1-11 

McCosker, J.E. & Stewart, A.L. 2006. Additions to the New Zealand marine eel fauna with the description of a new moray, Anarchias supremus Teleostei Muraenidae, and comments on the identity of Gymnothorax griffini Whitley Phillips. Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand 362: 83-95, open access (as Apterichtus flavicaudus)  

McCosker, J.E. & Stewart, A.L. 2015. 40 Family Ophichthidae. pp. 249-258 in oberts, C.D., Stewart, A.L. & Struthers, C.D. (eds). The Fishes of New Zealand. Wellington : Te Papa Press Vol. 2 pp. 1-576.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37068050


Depth:12-100 m

Habitat:Reef associated, sandy areas

Max Size:57 cm TL

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CAAB distribution map