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Species: Gymnothorax ocellatus, Ocellated Moray

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snout blunt, jaws short
brown + well separated pale spots
D & A - alternating dark & light marks
top jaw 3 pores
teeth triangular, serrated, no canines

Gymnothorax ocellatus Agassiz, 1831

Ocellated Moray

Body elongate, compressed at rear; tail tapering; head and trunk shorter than to slightly >1/2 TL; head robust; snout moderate and blunt; skin thick, with longitudinal wrinkles on gill area; eye large, over middle of mouth; front nostril a simple tube; rear nostril a rimmed hole at level of profile of head that has a slightly raised and wrinkled edge; mouth short, lower jaw straight, mouth closes completely; teeth large, triangular, compressed, serrated, in a single series on jaws; top front of mouth with 1 tooth at center and 2 large teeth on each side behind that, then 8-10 main jaw teeth on each side, those becoming increasingly smaller at rear; back of roof of mouth with a row of small, conical hidden teeth; lower jaw with 9-16 teeth on each side, the first 4 abruptly larger than those behind; gill opening round; dorsal and anal fins covered with skin, but evident; dorsal origin on head, before gill opening; no pectoral fins; top jaw with 3 pores.

Yellowish brown to yellow, darker above; upper head and upper ¾ of body and tail with distinct, well separated white spots of varying shapes and sizes (up to eye size), larger and more diffuse on tail; belly not marked; head with smaller spots, a dark ring around the eye; dorsal fin with spotted pattern on inner part and outer part with a black edge strongly marked with white slashes; anal fin like dorsal fin but less distinctly marked; tip of tail pale.

Reaches 61 cm.

Lives on soft bottoms.

Depth range: 1-445 m.

Cuba to Argentina

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Bottom only
  • Sand & gravel
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Soft bottom only
  • Mud
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
FishBase Habitat
  • Demersal
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Data
  • Bony fishes
  • Mobile benthic gastropods/bivalves
  • Mobile benthic worms
  • Octopus/squid/cuttlefish
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Pelagic
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
  • West Atlantic Endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Also in Brazil
  • Continent
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Continental primarily
  • Extends South of GC
  • GC non-endemic
  • Island (s)
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 61
Depth Range Min
  • 1
Depth Range Max
  • 445