Shorefishes of the Eastern Pacific online information system

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Family: MURAENIDAE, Moray Eels, Snake-Moray Eels

All Families:   All Genera:   All Species:

D, A & C continuous
rear nostril above mid-eye level
no pectorals
LL= 1-2 pores at rear head



Morays eels, which range from ~ 15 cm to 3.75 m, are characterized by a very elongate muscular, compressed body; nape elevated; front nostril tubular, rear nostril a hole or tube over or before eye; a large mouth; teeth vary from sharp, needlelike fangs to blunt, flat molars, with numbers of rows on jaws varying and occurrence on roof of mouth varying; snout short to long, slender to heavy; gill opening a hole or slit on mid-side; no pectoral fins; dorsal and anal fins usually are well developed and are continuous with tail fin; lateral line pores absent except for 1-2 (usually) pores above and before gill opening; head pores usually 3 near tip of snout, 4 along top jaw, 6 on lower jaw; no scales.

Morays are found in both marine and brackish water habitats, from the shoreline to 500 m depth. Normal prey items of morays include fishes and a variety of invertebrates such as crabs, shrimps, and octopuses.

This circumtropical and temperate, family includes 15 genera and about 190 species, with 28 species in 9 genera in our area.