Act! Join Us Support Our Efforts
Ocean Conservation Marine Life Species Database Education+Careers Projects Contributors Photos Videos News Connect

Spotted Moray Eels, Gymnothorax moringa

Spotted Moray EelsSpotted Moray EelsContribute Photos or VideoContribute Photos or Video

Description & Behavior

Spotted moray eels, Gymnothorax moringa (Cuvier, 1829), aka common congers, common spotted morays, congers, conger eels, eels, Hamlets, red morays, speckled morays, white congs, white jawed morays, white-chinned morays and white-jawed moray eels, measure up to 2 m in total length (commonly 60 cm) and have a maximum published weight of 2.51 kg. These are a moderately-sized moray species with a distinctive pattern of small, round, overlapping dark-brown to purple or black spots on a white or pale yellow background. They are often seen peeking out from a hole in the coral with the rest of the body concealed (as in the above photo).

World Range & Habitat

Spotted moray eels, Gymnothorax moringa, are a reef-associated species found at depths from 0 - 200 m (usually 0 - 35 m). They inhabit tropical waters in the Western Atlantic from North Carolina in the USA, east to Bermuda and south to Brazil, and they are also found in the Gulf of Mexico and in the Caribbean to southeastern Brazil. In the Eastern Atlantic they're found near Ascension and St. Helena. Spotted morays are a solitary species.

Feeding Behavior (Ecology)

Spotted moray eels, Gymnothorax moringa, feed during the day, sometimes with other predators. They primarily feed on fish and crustaceans.

Life History

Spotted moray eels, Gymnothorax moringa, fertilize their eggs externally as open water/substratum egg scatterers, known to have spawning migrations and produce leptocephalus larvae.

Conservation Status & Comments

Spotted moray eels, Gymnothorax moringa, are commercially fished (minor), collected by the aquarium trade, and have not yet been evaluated by the IUCN Red List as to whether they are threatened or endangered.

Their bite can be very dangerous.

Resilience to fishing pressure: Low, minimum population doubling time 4.5 - 14 years
Extinction vulnerability to fishing: Very high vulnerability (77 of 100)

References & Further Research

Research Gymnothorax moringa » Barcode of Life ~ BioOne ~ Biodiversity Heritage Library ~ CITES ~ Cornell Macaulay Library [audio / video] ~ Encyclopedia of Life (EOL) ~ ESA Online Journals ~ FishBase ~ Florida Museum of Natural History Ichthyology Department ~ GBIF ~ Google Scholar ~ ITIS ~ IUCN RedList (Threatened Status) ~ Marine Species Identification Portal ~ NCBI (PubMed, GenBank, etc.) ~ Ocean Biogeographic Information System ~ PLOS ~ SIRIS ~ Tree of Life Web Project ~ UNEP-WCMC Species Database ~ WoRMS

Search for Spotted Moray Eels » ARKive ~ ~ Bing ~ dmoz ~ Flickr ~ Google ~ NatureFootage ~ Picsearch ~ Wikipedia ~ Yahoo! Images ~ YouTube

Feedback & Citation

Start or join a discussion about this species below or send us an email to report any errors or submit suggestions for this page. We greatly appreciate all feedback!

~^~ surface

Help Protect and Restore Ocean Life

Help us protect and restore marine life by supporting our various online community-centered marine conservation projects that are effectively sharing the wonders of the ocean with millions each year around the world, raising a balanced awareness of the increasingly troubling and often very complex marine conservation issues that affect marine life and ourselves directly, providing support to marine conservation groups on the frontlines that are making real differences today, and the scientists, teachers and students involved in the marine life sciences.

Join us today or show your support with a monthly donation.

With your support, most marine life and their ocean habitats can be protected, if not restored to their former natural levels of biodiversity. We sincerely thank our thousands of members, donors and sponsors, who have decided to get involved and support the MarineBio Conservation Society.