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Gymnothorax undulatus (Lacépède, 1803)
Leopard Moray; Mottled Moray; Mottled Reef-eel; Undulated Moray; Muraena cancellata Richardson, 1848; Muraenophis undulata Lacépède, 1803

Life   Vertebrata   Fish   Muraenidae   Gymnothorax

Gymnothorax undulatus
© Copyright Ross Robertson, 2006 · 12
Gymnothorax undulatus

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Gymnothorax undulatus
© Copyright Gerald Allen, 2006 · 0
Gymnothorax undulatus
Gymnothorax undulatus
© Copyright Photographer/SFTEP, 2002 · 0
Gymnothorax undulatus

Gymnothorax undulatus
© Copyright Photographer/SFTEP, 2002 · 0
Gymnothorax undulatus
Gymnothorax undulatus
© Copyright Photographer/SFTEP, 2002 · 0
Gymnothorax undulatus

Main identification features
  • brown + yellow irregular chain-link and mottling
Dorsal and anal fins covered with skin, but clearly evident; dorsal fin origin before gill opening; rear nostril not tubular, at most a raised rim; teeth pointed and well developed; a single row of long fang-like canines at front between top jaws and the usual canines anteriorly in jaws; young with a few canines in middle row of upper jaw.

Head variable, often yellowish, but also brown, grey or whitish; young brown with diffuse yellowish bars on body forming "chain-link" pattern; adults irregularly mottled.

Size: attains at least 150 cm.

Habitat: rocky bottoms.

Depth: 1-30 m.

Widespread in the Indo-Pacific from East Africa to the Americas; in the eastern Pacific it occurs from Costa Rica to Colombia, and the Revillagigedos Islands.

Abundance: Common.
Cites: Not listed.
Climate Zone: Northern Tropical (Mexican Province to Nicaragua + Revillagigedos); Equatorial (Costa Rica to Ecuador + Galapagos, Clipperton, Cocos, Malpelo).
Depth Range Max: 30 m.
Depth Range Min: 1 m.
Diet: mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs); octopus/squid/cuttlefish; bony fishes.
Eastern Pacific Range: Northern limit=20; Southern limit=3; Western limit=-115; Eastern limit=-78; Latitudinal range=17; Longitudinal range=37.
Egg Type: Pelagic; Pelagic larva.
Feeding Group: Carnivore.
FishBase Habitat: Reef Associated.
Global Endemism: All Pacific (West + Central + East); Indo-Pacific only (Indian + Pacific Oceans); TEP non-endemic; "Transpacific" (East + Central &/or West Pacific); All species.
Habitat: Corals; Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom); Rocks; Reef (rock &/or coral); Reef only.
Inshore Offshore: Inshore; Inshore Only.
IUCN Red List: Not evaluated / Listed.
Length Max: 150 cm.
Regional Endemism: Island (s); Continent; Continent + Island (s); Eastern Pacific non-endemic; Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) non-endemic; All species.
Residency: Resident.
Salinity: Marine; Marine Only.
Water Column Position: Bottom; Bottom only;

Scientific source:

Links to other sites

  • Castro-Aguirre, J.L. and Balart, E.F., 2002., La ictiofauna de las islas Revillagigedos y sus relaciones zoogeograficas, con comentarios acerca de su origen y evolucion. En: Lozano-Vilano, M. L. (Ed.). Libro Jubilar en Honor al Dr. Salvador Contreras Balderas., Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Len:153-170.
  • Fischer , W. , Krup , F. , Schneider , W. , Sommer , C. , Carpenter , K. E. and Niem, V. H., 1995., Guia FAO para la Identificacion de Especies de para los fines de la Pesca. Pacifico Centro-Oriental. Volumen III. Vertebrados - Parte 2., FAO3:1201-1813.
  • Lacepde, B. G. E., 1803., Histoire naturelle des poissons., Histoire Naturelle Des Poissons, 5:1-803.
  • Lopez , M. I. and Bussing, W. A., 1982., Lista provisional de los peces marinos de la Costa Rica., Revista de Biologia Tropical, 30(1):5-26.
  • Rosenblatt , R.H. , McCosker , J.E. and Rubinoff, I., 1972., Indo-west Pacific fishes from the Gulf of Chiriqui, Panama., Contrib. Sci. Nat. Hist. Mus. Los Angeles Co., 234:18pp.
  • Vega, A.J., Villareal, N., 2003., Peces asociados a arrecifes y manglares en el Parque Nacional Coiba., Tecnociencia, 5:65-76.


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Kingdom Animalia  
 Phylum Chordata  
 Class Actinopterygii  
 Order Anguilliformes  
 Family Muraenidae  
 Genus Gymnothorax  
  Gymnothorax undulatus    (Lacepède, 1803) 
Provider: Chen, Hong-Ming 
hierarchy tree    download xml    download txt    Chinese Page    
Synonyms: Gymnothorax afer Gymnothorax undulates Gymnothorax vicinus Lycodontis afer Lycodontis anatinus Lycodontis undulata Lycodontis vicinus Muraena afra Muraena cancellata Muraena tristis Muraena undulata details
Citation: 臺灣魚類誌(沈等, 1993) A review of muraenid eels (Family Muraenidae) from Taiwan with descriptions of twelve new records. Zoological studies 33(1):44-64(Chen, Shao & Chen, 1994)
Character: HL 6.8-8.1, DGO 13.9-16.5, TR 3.0-3.5 in TL, Vert 131-133. Ground color blackish brown to greenish brown body with numerous wavy, net-like whitish lines across the body. Darker snout; Yellowish green top of head when alive; darker mouth corner in some individuals.  
Habitat: A common species on reef flats among rocks, rubble, or in lagoons and seaward reefs. Nocturnal species that feeds on fishes, octopi, and probably crustaceans. Used in Chinese medicine. 
Distribution: Indo-Pacific: Red Sea and East Africa, north to southern Japan, Taiwan and the Hawaiian Islands, south to the southern Great Barrier Reef; throughout Micronesia. 
Utility: Aquarium: commercial. 
Name Code: 380777
Suggested Link    The Fish Database of Taiwan    FishBase    Discover Life    World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS)  
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Number of matches : 2
Query: SELECT * FROM img WHERE ready=1 and taxon like "Gymnothorax undulatus%" and (lifeform != "specimen_tag" OR lifeform != "Animal") ORDER BY taxon

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Gymnothorax undulatus
Gymnothorax undulatus
Undulated Moray
ID: 0000 0000 0705 0422 [detail]
Lovell and Libby Langstroth
© 2005 California Academy of Sciences

Gymnothorax undulatus
Gymnothorax undulatus
ID: 4444 4444 1106 0068 [detail]
© 2006 Moorea Biocode

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Common name (e.g. trout)

Genus + Species (e.g. Gadus morhua)

Gymnothorax undulatus (Lacepède , 1803)

Undulated moray Add your observation in Fish Watcher
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Gymnothorax undulatus   AquaMaps   Data sources: GBIF OBIS
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Pictures | Videos |     Google image Image of Gymnothorax undulatus (Undulated moray) Gymnothorax undulatus
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Classification / Names Common names | Synonyms | Catalog of Fishes ( gen. , sp. ) | ITIS | CoL | WoRMS | Cloffa

Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Anguilliformes (Eels and morays) > Muraenidae (Moray eels) > Muraeninae
Etymology: Gymnothorax: Greek, gymnos = naked + Greek, thorax, -akos = breast (Ref. 45335 ) .  More on author: Lacepède .

Environment: milieu / climate zone / depth range / distribution range Ecology

Marine; brackish; reef-associated; depth range 1 - 110 m (Ref. 58302 ).   Tropical; 32°N - 28°S

Distribution Countries | FAO areas | Ecosystems | Occurrences | Point map | Introductions | Faunafri

Indo-Pacific: Red Sea and East Africa, including Walters Shoal (Ref. 33390 ) and Persian Gulf (Ref. 68964 ) to French Polynesia, north to southern Japan and the Hawaiian Islands, south to the southern Great Barrier Reef. Eastern Central Pacific: Costa Rica and Panama (Ref. 9324 ).

Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age

Maturity: L m   ? , range 77 - ? cm
Max length : 150 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 1602 )

Short description Morphology | Morphometrics

Dorsal spines (total): 0; Dorsal soft rays (total): 0; Anal spines : 0; Anal soft rays : 0; Vertebrae : 126 - 138. Distinctive pattern of light undulating lines and speckles on a dark green background. Snout often yellow (Ref. 30404 ).

Biology     Glossary (e.g. epibenthic)

A common species on reef flats among rocks, rubble, or debris and also occurs in lagoons and seaward reefs to depths of 26 m or more. Minimum depth of 1m (Ref. 81209 ). Cavernicolous (Ref. 8593 , 58302 ). Benthic (Ref. 58302 ). Nocturnal species that feeds on fishes, octopi, and probably crustaceans. Reported to be an aggressive species and prone to bite. Used in Chinese medicine (Ref. 12166 ).

Life cycle and mating behavior Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae

Main reference Upload your references | References | Coordinator | Collaborators

Chen, H.-M., K.-T. Shao and C.T. Chen , 1994. A review of the muraenid eels (Family Muraenidae) from Taiwan with descriptions of twelve new records. Zool. Stud. 33(1):44-64. (Ref. 6934 )

IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 120744 )

  Least Concern (LC)  ; Date assessed: 18 August 2011

CITES (Ref. 115941 )

Not Evaluated

CMS (Ref. 116361 )

Not Evaluated

Threat to humans

  Reports of ciguatera poisoning (Ref. 4690 )

Human uses

Fisheries: minor commercial; aquarium: commercial FAO(Publication : search ) | FishSource | Sea Around Us

More information

FAO areas
Food items
Food consumption
Common names
Spawning aggregation
Egg development
Larval dynamics
Aquaculture profile
Allele frequencies
Mass conversion
Stamps, Coins Misc.
Swim. type
Gill area


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Estimates of some properties based on models

Preferred temperature (Ref. 115969 ): 24.3 - 29, mean 28 (based on 1810 cells). Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805 ):  PD 50 = 0.5000   [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high]. Trophic Level (Ref. 69278 ):  3.6   ±0.3 se; Based on diet studies. Resilience (Ref. 69278 ):  Very Low, minimum population doubling time more than 14 years (Preliminary K or Fecundity.). Vulnerability (Ref. 59153 ):  Very high vulnerability (81 of 100) . Price category (Ref. 80766 ):   Medium .

Entered by Luna, Susan M. Modified by Kesner-Reyes, Kathleen Fish Forum
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