LEIURANUS VERSICOLOR - (RICHARDSON, 1848)
Picture courtesy of: Amaury Durbano
Actinopterygii (Gigaclass) > Actinopteri (Class) > Teleostei (Subclass) > Elopomorpha (Superorder) > Anguilliformes (Order) > Ophichthidae (Family) > Ophichthinae (Subfamily) > Leiuranus (Genus)
Anguille-serpent bagnard, Convict snake eel, Torano-o-umihebi, トラノオウミヘビ, 多色盖蛇鳗,
Cyclophichthys cyclorhinus (Fraser-Brunner, 1934)
Cyclophichthys versicolor (Richardson, 1848)
Elapsopis cyclorhinus (Fraser-Brunner, 1934)
Elapsopis versicolor (Richardson, 1848)
Elapsopsis versicolor (Richardson, 1848)
Ophichthus cyclorhinus (Fraser-Brunner, 1934)
Ophisurus versicolor (Richardson, 1848)
Head length about: 13 in TL; Body depth about: 46 in TL; Predorsal vertebrae: 7; Preanal vertebrae: 65; Total vertebrae: 164. Body elongated, cylindrical, laterally compressed in posterior part of tail; Head and trunk slightly shorter than tail; With pectoral fins; Low dorsal fin, origin above middle of pectoral fin; Short tube anterior nostril; Posterior nostril opposite front edge of eye; Projecting upper jaw beyond lower jaw; Uniserial jaw teeth or irregular biserial at middle of upper jaw; Intermaxillary with about nine teeth. Max. length: 75.4 cm TL. Depth range: 3 - 18 m.
Bold pattern body of alternating black and white to pale yellow bars, the black bars being about twice the width of the white bars. Some black bars may completely encircle the body, and some may contain small white saddles. Adults usually have the dark bars notched dorsally by a narrow white to yellow bar or slit.
Leiuranus: from Greek, leîos = smooth, sleek + from greek urano-, ouraniskos = little sky-vault, the palate. Referring to toothless vomer.
versicolor: from Latin, versō = turn + from Latin, color = color. Here the latin word mean : particolored, of various colors, that changes its color. Referring to the 27 purplish-brown rings, which are further divided: "The body is varied by 27 purplish-brown rings, considerably broader than the area between them; Most of the rings are further divided more or less completely by narrower white lines or imperfect circles" (Richardson 1849).
Original description: Ophisurus versicolor Richardson, 1848 - Type locality: Molucca Islands [Maluku], Indonesia.
Western Pacific: Indonesia east to Philippines and Papua New Guinea, north to southern Japan, south to Great Barrier Reef (Queensland, Australia) and New Caledonia.
A burrowing species of inshore, soft bottom areas.
Leiuranus semicinctus (Lay & Bennett, 1839) - Reported from New Caledonia - Link to the species (here).
Last update: 15, January 2023