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Species: Gymnothorax miliaris, Goldentail Moray

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dark + many small gold spots
tail tip yellow
teeth slender, smooth, no canines

Gymnothorax miliaris (Kaup, 1856)

Goldentail Moray

Body short and stubby, compressed at rear; tail tapering; head and trunk shorter than to slightly >1/2 TL; snout short and blunt; eye over or slightly behind middle of mouth; front nostril a simple tube; rear nostril a hole with a raised rim at level of profile of head; mouth short, lower jaw straight, mouth closes completely; teeth smooth, short, slender, conical, no long canines; 2 rows of small, smooth, curved teeth on jaws; 5 rows of teeth at top front of mouth; top jaw with 2 rows of teeth –15-24 outer and 6-12 inner; center of roof of mouth with 1 row of 14-16 stout teeth; lower jaw with an outer row of 18-30 teeth and a front inner row of 2-5 teeth; gill opening round; dorsal and anal fins covered with skin, but evident; dorsal origin on head, before gill opening.

Color highly variable; (i) dark brown with a dense covering of creamy yellow spots, and a pale yellow tip to the tail, iris gold; other patterns include (ii) a reversed pattern of dark spots on a pale background; (iii) a network of brown lines on a white to yellow background; (iv) a pale body with large irregularly distributed dark blotches, sometimes only a few blotches.

Reaches 70 cm.

Lives on reefs.

Depth range: 0-71 m.

The E, Central and W Atlantic; North Carolina to Brazil.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Bottom only
  • Reef only
  • Rocks
  • Sponges
  • Corals
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
FishBase Habitat
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Data
  • Sponges/seasquirts/bryozoa
  • Bony fishes
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Octopus/squid/cuttlefish
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Pelagic
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
  • Transatlantic (East+West Atlantic)
Regional Endemism
  • Also in Brazil
  • Continent
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Extends South of GC
  • GC non-endemic
  • Island (s)
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 70
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 71