Banded Snake Eel

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Myrichthys colubrinus - (Boddaert, 1781)
Banded Snake Eel

Bears some similarity to a venomous sea snake, but this is a shy, harmless fish. Scott W. Michael


This boldly striped fish bears some resemblance to the venomous Banded Sea Snake (Laticauda colubrina), but is mild-mannered and harmless. It is a very finicky eater and difficult to keep in captivity. Unlike many eels, it often comes out of hiding to forage for food during daylight hours.

Family: Ophichthidae

Other common name(s):

  • Harlequin Snake Eel

Native range:

Habitat: Near-reef sandy areas, lagoons, seagrass beds. Must have at least a 5 cm (2 in) bed of fine sand in the aquarium, as it offen buries itself for security.

Maximum length: 88 cm (35 in)

Minimum aquarium size: 681 L (180 gal)

Water: Marine 24 °C (75 °F) - 28 °C (82 °F)

General swimming level: Bottom.


Difficult to feed. Offer live grass shrimp or small benthic fishes to initiate a feeding response. May accept pieces of fresh shrimp, scallop, or marine fish flesh impaled on a feeding stick. Feed to satiation, 2 times a week.

Aquarium Compatibility

May eat ornamental crustaceans and small fishes; may topple corals not securely attached to rockwork. Use care when choosing tankmates, as many fishes are inclined to nip at it. Juvenile tobies (Canthigaster spp.) have been seen biting this eel’s tail, irritating it and forcing it to try to escape.


Not reported.

Reference: 101 Best Saltwater Fishes
Image credit: SWM
Text credit: SWM