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spotted moray eel, gymnothorax moringa

Photo contributed by: Francis Swarts

Spotted Moray Eel

(Gymnothorax moringa)

The spotted moray, gymnothorax moringa, is a typical medium-sized moray eel. It has a long snake-like body, white or pale yellow in color with small overlapping dark-brown spots. It can grow to over a meter in length and weigh up to 2.5 kg. The spotted moray is found in the Western Atlantic Ocean from North Carolina and Bermuda to Brazil, Gulf of Mexico, and the Caribbean including the Western Caribbean Island Roatan Island, in the bay islands of Honduras. It is also found around mid - and Eastern Atlantic islands as far south as St Helena. It prefers shallow water (up to 200 m in depth) with a rocky or grassy bottom. Spotted morays are solitary animals, and are usually seen in holes, with only the head protruding. They are active during the day, feeding at the sea bottom on crustaceans and other fish. Their bite can be dangerous to humans. There is a minor fishery for them, and they have even been kept as aquarium fish, though they grow too large for this to be practicable in most circumstances.

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