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Gymnothorax meleagris (Shaw &. Nodder, 1795)
Guineafowl Moray; White-mouth Moray; White-spotted Moray; Muraena meleagris Shaw and Nodder, 1795; Turkey Moray

Life   Vertebrata   Fish   Muraenidae   Gymnothorax

Gymnothorax meleagris
© Copyright Gerald Allen, 2006 · 0
Gymnothorax meleagris

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Main identification features
  • dark brown, + dense small yellow spots
  • inside mouth white
Dorsal and anal fins covered with skin, but very evident, with origins at or (in dorsal) before anus; front nostril a simple tube; posterior nostril a hole at level of profile of head; lower jaw straight, mouth closes completely; teeth sharp, teeth on front of roof of mouth in a single row; upper jaw teeth in 1-2 rows, outer row canine-like,3 rows of long canines at front between top jaws, canines also at front of bottom jaw; depth 6.7-10% of length; head length 12-14% of total length; tail 40-55% of total length.

Body and fins brown to yellowish-brown with numerous small, dark-bordered white spots, dense on head, becoming sparser at rear; tip of tail white; gill opening in black blotch; inside of mouth white.

Size: 120 cm.

Habitat: rocky and coral reefs.

Depth: 1-45 m.

Indo-Pacific; vagrant at the Galapagos and Cocos.

Abundance: Common.
Cites: Not listed.
Climate Zone: Equatorial (Costa Rica to Ecuador + Galapagos, Clipperton, Cocos, Malpelo).
Depth Range Max: 45 m.
Depth Range Min: 1 m.
Diet: bony fishes; mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs).
Eastern Pacific Range: Northern limit=6; Southern limit=-2; Western limit=-93; Eastern limit=-87; Latitudinal range=8; Longitudinal range=6.
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: 120 cm.
Regional Endemism: Island (s) only; Island (s); Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) non-endemic; Eastern Pacific non-endemic; All species.
Residency: Vagrant.
Salinity: Marine; Marine Only.
Water Column Position: Bottom; Bottom only;

Scientific source:

Links to other sites

  • Humann, P., 1993., Reef Fish Identification: Galapagos., New World Publishing:192pp.
  • McCosker , J.E. and Humann, P.H., 1996., New records of Galápagos fishes., Charles Darwin Foundation, Noticias de Galápagos., 56:18-26.
  • Shaw , G. and Nodder, F. P., 1813., The Naturalist's Miscellany, or coloured figures of natural objects; drawn and described from nature. London., Naturalist's Misc., :unnumbered pages.


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Kingdom Animalia  
 Phylum Chordata  
 Class Actinopterygii  
 Order Anguilliformes  
 Family Muraenidae  
 Genus Gymnothorax  
  Gymnothorax meleagris    (Shaw, 1795) 
Provider: Chen, Hong-Ming 
hierarchy tree    download xml    download txt    Chinese Page    
Synonyms: Gymnothorax chlorostigma Muraena chlorostigma Muraena meleagris Thyrsoidea chlorostigma   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) Shaw [G.] in Shaw & Nodder 1795:Pl. 220 [The Naturalist's Miscellany, or coloured figures of natural objects drawn and described from nature.
Character: HL 7.4-8.1, DGO 11.4-13.9, TR 3.2-3.5 in TL, Vert 126-128. Dark red-brownish body, with numerous round, dark-edged, white spots; blackish anterior nostril and gill openings; whitish inner mouth skin and tail terminus. 
Habitat: Occurs in coral-rich areas of lagoon and seaward reefs. Feeds mainly on fishes, also on octopus or crustaceans. 
Distribution: Indo-Pacific: Red Sea and East Africa, Taiwan, Ryukyu and Hawaiian islands, Micronesia. 
Utility: fisheries 
Name Code: 380763
Suggested Link    The Fish Database of Taiwan    FishBase    Discover Life    World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS)  
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Common name (e.g. trout)

Genus + Species (e.g. Gadus morhua)

Gymnothorax meleagris (Shaw , 1795)

Turkey moray Add your observation in Fish Watcher
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This map was computer-generated and has not yet been reviewed.
Gymnothorax meleagris   AquaMaps   Data sources: GBIF OBIS
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Pictures | Videos |     Google image Image of Gymnothorax meleagris (Turkey moray) Gymnothorax meleagris
Picture by Randall, J.E.

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: Shaw .

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

Marine; freshwater; brackish; reef-associated; depth range 1 - 51 m (Ref. 58302 ).   Tropical; 38°N - 36°S, 18°E - 129°W

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

Indo-Pacific: East Africa (Ref. 33390 ) to Marquesas and Mangaréva, north to the Ryukyu and Hawaiian islands, south to Lord Howe Island. Southeast Atlantic: South Africa.

Size / Weight / Age

Maturity: L m   ?   range ? - ? cm
Max length : 120 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 1602 ); common length : 80.0 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 30573 )

Short description Morphology | Morphometrics

Dorsal spines (total): 0; Dorsal soft rays (total): 0; Anal spines : 0; Anal soft rays : 0; Vertebrae : 127 - 132. Mouth white inside, contrasting the outer dark skin with small white spots (Ref. 30404 , 48635 ).

Biology     Glossary (e.g. epibenthic)

Occurs in coral-rich areas of lagoon and seaward reefs from depths of 1 m to at least 36 m. Prefers very shallow depth and juveniles often in intertidal zones (Ref. 30404 ). Benthic (Ref. 58302 ). Often seen hunting during low tide among partly exposed reefs (Ref. 48635 ). Feeds mainly on fishes, also on crustaceans, by day and probably also at night (Ref. 13550 ). Caught with various nets (Ref. 30573 ).

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: 17 August 2011

CITES (Ref. 118484 )

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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Internet sources

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Estimates based on models

Preferred temperature (Ref. 115969 ): 24.5 - 29, mean 28 (based on 1172 cells). Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805 ):  PD 50 = 0.5000   [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high]. Trophic Level (Ref. 69278 ):  4.0   ±0.70 se; Based on food items. Resilience (Ref. 120179 ):  Very Low, minimum population doubling time more than 14 years (Preliminary K or Fecundity.). Vulnerability (Ref. 59153 ):  High to very high vulnerability (69 of 100) . Price category (Ref. 80766 ):   Medium .

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