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Updated 10/22/2013

Family Muraenidae

Moray Eels

Moray eels are ubiquitous in Hawai�i, found in holes or beneath rocks during the day.  Because of this habit it is unwise to place hands or feet near these areas without looking first to avoid being bitten in self-defense.  Morays are generally docile unless provoked and their gaping mouths are simply pumping water over the gills.  Most species hunt in the open at night for fish, crustaceans, and octopi, relying upon their keen sense of smell instead of their comparatively poor eyesight.  Most genera have large pointed teeth designed to capture fish while Echidna and Gymnomuraena use molar-like teeth to crush shellfish.  Morays lack pectoral or pelvic fins and the thick leathery skin envelops the continuous marginal fin.  The gill opening is a simple hole behind the head.  Moray eels should not be eaten since they prey upon reef fish and are likely to cause ciguatera poisoning.  The generic Hawaiian name is puhi.

 

HAWAII

Gymnothorax eurostus

 

STOUT MORAY

 

Gymnothorax steindachneri

STEINDACHNER'S MORAY  

 

Gymnothorax flavimarginatus

YELLOWMARGINED MORAY

 

Gymnothorax javanicus

GIANT MORAY

Gymnothorax meleagris

WHITEMOUTH MORAY

 

Gymnothorax nudivomer

YELLOWMOUTH MORAY

Gymnothorax albimarginatus

WHITEMARGINED MORAY

 

Gymnothorax melatremus

DWARF MORAY

Gymnothorax undulatus

UNDULATED or GREENHEAD MORAY

 

Gymnothorax rueppellii

YELLOWHEAD MORAY

Gymnothorax pictus

PEPPERED MORAY

 

Gymnothorax gracilicauda

SLENDERTAIL MORAY

Echidna polyzona

BANDED or BARRED MORAY

 

Gymnomuraena zebra

 ZEBRA MORAY

Echidna nebulosa

SNOWFLAKE MORAY

 

Enchelynassa canina

VIPER MORAY

Enchelycore pardalis

DRAGON MORAY

 

Gymnothorax kidako

KIDAKO MORAY

Scuticaria okinawae

SHORTTAIL SNAKEMORAY

 

Scuticaria tigrina

TIGER MORAY

 

Gymnothorax berndti

BERNDT'S MORAY

 

Uropterygius macrocephalus

LARGEHEAD SNAKEMORAY


INDO-PACIFIC

Rhinomuraena quaesita

RIBBON MORAY

 

Gymnothorax favagineus

HONEYCOMB or LACED MORAY

 


EASTERN PACIFIC

Gymnothorax mordax

CALIFORNIA MORAY

 

Muraena argus

PEPPERED MORAY

Muraena lentiginosa

JEWELED MORAY