Homalopsid snakes are aquatic rear-fanged snakes that inhabit freshwater, brackish water, and marine environments from Pakistan's Indus River eastward to Queensland, Australia. While a few live in flowing streams with
clear water and rocky bottoms, most live in the muddy habitats created by Himalayan silt flowing to the seas of Southeast Asia. Many feed on fish, but a few have adapted to feeding on crustaceans and some are commensal with crustaceans living in their burrows. The Indochinese Peninsula and Sunda Shelf contain the greatest species diversity, and the history of these snakes is closely tied to the changing landscape of Southeast Asia. Homalopsid Snakes: Evolution in the Mud is the
only available book on these aquatic reptiles and the first comprehensive review of the group in 35 years. It contains species accounts, summaries of the author's field work, and photographs of the snakes and their morphology which can only be found in this book.
"The book is very attractive: large sized, glossy paper, neatly and elegantly printed and with plenty photos (both in back and white and in full color), maps, drawings, and tables…I was also impressed by the wealth of bibliography on these snakes…should be on the shelf of every snake scientist; John Murphy should be congratulated for having written this comprehensive review of the mysterious group of the Oriental-Australian 'mud
snakes." -- Luca Luiselli, Amphibia-Reptilia 29 (2008):142
"Murphy has produced a detailed book on these intriguing serpents, and one that will be the benchmark for this group for many years." -- Richard Shine, The Quarterly Review of Biology, Volume 83, March 2008