Shorefishes of the Greater Caribbean online information system

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Species: Muraena pavonina, Flagged Moray, Whitespot Moray

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both nostrils tubular, rear nostril larger
dark grey + rows round white spots
gill opening in black ring

Muraena pavonina Richardson, 1845

Flagged Moray, Whitespot Moray

Body short and stout; snout moderate, more or less conical; top of head between and behind eyes of large individuals with grooves that are adorned with papillae and small leaf-like appendages; tail not tapering, with rounded tip; both nostrils distinctly tubular, rear nostril long and fleshy, longer and broader than front nostril, over front edge of eye; mouth short, jaws not arched, mouth completely closable; lips of large fish with papillae; jaw teeth not serrated, in single row on each jaw in adults, biserial in juveniles, adult with 5-6 large stout teeth at front of top jaw, before a row of 10-20 widely spaced triangular teeth; lower jaw with 13-15 teeth, front 2-4 the largest; roof of mouth with 3 large depressible fangs at front (last is largest tooth in mouth) then a space and a row of 6-11 small teeth (fewer in larger individuals); gill opening a small slit on mid-side; head and trunk shorter than tail; dorsal fin origin before gill opening; lateral line pores absent except for 1-2 (usually) pores above and before gill opening.

Head and body dark grey-brown with large white spots or polygons, those arranged in 3-5 rows in juvenile; gill opening in a black ring in adult, a dark blotch in juvenile.

Reaches 67 cm.

Lives on reefs.

Depth range: 0-90 m.

E Caribbean to Brazil, the Central Atlantic.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Bottom only
  • Reef only
  • Rocks
  • Corals
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
FishBase Habitat
  • Reef Associated
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Data
  • Bony fishes
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Pelagic
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
  • West Atlantic Endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Also in Brazil
  • Extends South of GC
  • GC non-endemic
  • Island (s)
  • Island (s) only
  • All species
  • Vagrant
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
IUCN Red List
  • Least concern
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 67
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 90