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Species: Gymnothorax moringa, Spotted moray

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snout & jaws elongate
white + dense small dark spots
teeth slender, smooth, some canines
roof of mouth - 1 row teeth

Gymnothorax moringa (Cuvier, 1829)

Spotted moray

Body elongate, compressed at rear; tail tapering; head and trunk shorter than to slightly >1/2 TL; snout elongate and pointed; eye slightly before middle of mouth; front nostril a simple tube; rear nostril a hole at level of profile of head lower jaw straight, mouth closes completely; teeth strong, smooth, canines at front of jaws; a row of 5-6 large outer teeth (flanked by 0-7 tiny teeth) at front of top jaws, a row of 3 long slender fangs in between; top jaw with 1 row of 14-18 pointed teeth, plus an inner row at front of 1-2 inner teeth; roof of mouth with 1 row of 5-11 small teeth, well behind the central fangs; lower jaw with 15-24 teeth in a single row; gill opening round to a slit; dorsal and anal fins covered with skin, but evident; dorsal origin on head, before gill opening.

Color highly variable: irregular blackish spots on a white background, density of spots varies greatly, some fish very dark, others mostly white; iris whitish; large fish often with a row of large dark spots along upper back, sometimes another row along lower side; fins colored as body, margins pale in small fish, black on dark fish; very young fish are dark, with a contrasting pale lower jaw.

Reaches > 200 cm.

Lives on reefs and seagrass beds and rubble bottoms.

Depth range: 0-200 m.

W and Central Atlantic; S Carolina to Brazil.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Bottom only
  • Sand & gravel
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Submerged vegetation
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Mangrove
  • Rocks
  • Reef and soft bottom
  • Corals
FishBase Habitat
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Data
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Octopus/squid/cuttlefish
  • Bony fishes
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Pelagic
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species.
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
  • Transatlantic (East+West Atlantic)
Regional Endemism
  • Continent
  • All species..
  • Island (s)
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Extends South of GC
  • Also in Brazil
  • GC non-endemic
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
IUCN Red List
  • Listed
  • Least concern
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 200
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 200