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Saddled Snake-eel

Ophichthus bonaparti


Also known as Napoleon Snake Eel and Brownsaddled Snake Eel, O. bonaparti is a burrowing eel with a golden-yellow to cream-colored body with 18 to 27 prominent black saddles. Its dorsal and anal margins have irregular spots, while its snout and head have golden marbling and spots. It can grow to a length of about 75cm. Snake-eels can withdraw into the substrate very quickly, their pointed tails going first.


Reef-associated, O. bonaparti is found at depths of 0 to 20m in sandy or rubble areas. Usually almost completely buried in the sand with only its head showing vertically.


This is the first time for me to see this snake-eel competely out in the open. Its coloration is much darker than usual, and it didn't display the usual shyness I've observed among snake-eels -- it even came close to touching my camera a couple of times, as if it didn't know I was there. This was in less than 10m of water at Dayang Beach, Talikud Island. It measured about 40cm long.

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Blogie 9 years ago

Thanks, Maria and Gerardo!

Yeah it was pretty big -- about 40cm long.

Gerardo Aizpuru
Gerardo Aizpuru 9 years ago

Super cool Blogie, :)

Maria dB
Maria dB 9 years ago

It looks very large - and nice big sea star in the background, too!

Blogie 9 years ago

Thanks Scott!

ScottHarte 9 years ago

Great series, I never get good shots of them (normally they are either burried or in supper shallow water). Lovely find

Blogie 9 years ago

Hi Martin. They're usually buried in the sand, like this one:

MartinUrban 9 years ago

Amazing ! - I've never seen this one before !

Spotted by

Davao Del Norte, Philippines

Spotted on Aug 25, 2012
Submitted on Aug 26, 2012

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