Shorefishes of the Eastern Pacific online information system

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Species: Gymnothorax mordax, California moray

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yellow-brown, dense fine dark spots
eye grey to yellow-brown
gill opening in dark blotch
D&A margin yellow
teeth conical, smooth

Gymnothorax mordax (Ayres, 1859)

California moray

Stout bodied; tail a little > ½ TL; front nostrils tubular, rear nostril a hole at upper profile level; teeth pointed, conical, not serrated; 2 rows of teeth on side top jaws, outer row smaller, 5 rows at front; lower jaw with 2 rows at front; dorsal and anal fins covered with skin, but clearly evident; dorsal fin origin before gill opening.
Light brown to yellowish, finely and irregularly spotted with dark brown; eye grey to yellow-brown; gill opening in a large dark blotch; yellow margins on dorsal and anal fins, particularly at rear of body.
Reaches 152 cm.
Habitat: rocky bottoms.
Depth: 2-40 m.
California to Alijos Rocks, offshore from southern Baja.

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  • Marine
  • Marine Only
  • Inshore Only
  • Inshore
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Bottom only
  • Rocks
  • Reef (rock/coral/oyster)
  • Reef only
  • Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)
FishBase Habitat
  • Demersal
Feeding Group
  • No Data
  • Carnivore
  • No Data
  • Bony fishes
  • Octopus/squid/cuttlefish
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
Egg Type
  • Pelagic
  • No data
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • East Pacific endemic
  • TEP non-endemic
  • All species
Regional Endemism
  • Island (s)
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Continent
  • California province, primarily
  • All species
  • Temperate Eastern Pacific, primarily
  • Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) non-endemic
  • Vagrant
Climate Zone
  • North Temperate (Californian Province &/or Northern Gulf of California)
  • Northern Subtropical (Cortez Province + Sinaloan Gap)
IUCN Red List
  • Not evaluated / Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 152
Depth Range Min
  • 2
Depth Range Max
  • 40