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Spotted Moray Gymnothorax moringa


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Spotted Moray
credit: D. Kesling

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Family: Muraenidae, Morays view all from this family

Description The spotted moray, Gymnothorax moringa, is a medium to largemoray eel. It has a long snake-like body, white or pale yellow in color with small overlapping dark-brown spots. Typical length is around 60 centimeters, but recent specimens suggest to maximum size of this moray is almost 7 feet, or two meters (200 centimeters).

The spotted moray is found in the Western Atlantic Ocean from North Carolina and Bermuda to Brazil, including the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean. It is also found around Mid- and Eastern Atlantic islands as far south as St Helena. It is found from near to the surface, up to a depth of 200 meters.

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.

Dimensions Up to 3'3" (99 cm).

Warning Capable of inflicting deep wounds when disturbed, large morays are dangerous in or out of water.

Habitat Ocean or bay shallows, Estuaries, tidal flats & salt marshes.

Range Southeast, Florida, Texas.