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FAQs about Morays Eel Identification 2

Related FAQs:  Moray IDs 1, Moray IDs 2Moray IDs 3, Moray IDs 4, Moray IDs 5, & Moray Eels 1, Moray Eels 2, Moral Eels 3, Moray Selection, Moray Behavior, Moray Compatibility, Moray Systems, Moray Feeding, Moray Disease, Moray Reproduction, Zebra Moray Eels, Snowflake Morays, Freshwater Moray Eels, Other Marine Eels,

Related Articles: Moray Eels, Zebra Morays, Snowflake Morays, Ribbon Morays, The "Freshwater" Moray Eels, Freshwater Moray Eels by Marco Lichtenberger, Other Marine Eels

The most common Moray in Hawaiian waters, Gymnothorax meleagris.

What kind of eel? Grammar?   6/16/06 WM CREW,             A friend is a Miami party boat skipper. He knows I keep big morays. He caught an eel,4-5 ft long, greenish, with big pectoral fins and a tall dorsal to the tail. He said he had never seen one like it after years of running a party boat off Miami for years. He tried to save it for me but it was dying in the bucket so he released it. Bummer!. What do you think? Thanks.      Rip <... Rip, you need to hit the space key twixt your sentences. This is/was likely a Gymnothorax funebris. Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/moraysii.htm Bob Fenner>

Eel i.d.   1/10/06 Dear Robert Fenner, <Abner>                  Greetings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!                  I am Abner Bucol, an amateur Research Biologist, I am interested to work on eel taxonomy and ecology. <Neat!> I have collected and sent eels as well as other fishes to the United States National Museum for Natural History in Washington U.S.A. last October. However, I haven't received the I.D. of the eels and I have a new collection of eels and morays not included in the first batch of specimens. I want to ask if you can help me identify some of them. I want to give some of the preserved specimens if you like. I can collect anytime just in case you want to have some. <Mmm, am an amateur "pet-fish ichthyologist" myself... not a systematist of this or any other fish group>                If you can send me some photographs of your identified eels and morays, you can send them via this email address. I really need your help Sir....... <Most all my identified anquilliform pix are posted on WetWebMedia... If you are compiling, writing re the whole Order, I might be willing to send you a copy of all scans...>               Thanks a lot. I hope you will respond to my letter..........    Truly yours,    Abner Bucol <I would seek out ichthyologists who work on this group of fishes... and ask for their cooperation. Am BCC'g Dr. Jack Randall here in the hopes he can/will in turn refer you to such. Good hunting. Bob Fenner>

Yellow Eel ID I've recently purchased an eel that was sold to the previous owner as a dwarf golden moray eel. There has been some debate as to the actual species of animal so I was hoping that I could get an ID here. I've attached a couple of pictures of him. Thanks in advance, Phyllis <Nice pix of a gorgeous specimen. This is likely a xanthic Gymnothorax miliaris (Please see here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/morays.htm), though there are a few other "golden moray" species that occur in the wild and trade from time to time. Bob Fenner>

Distinguishing Morays Hey again. One more quick question- my new quandary is how do I tell if the specimen I am looking at is Gymnothorax miliaris (the mostly yellow morph) or Gymnothorax melatremus? I can't seem to find a clarification or a description of the later on WWM. Thanks. Reuben <Give a look/see on fishbase.org re these two muraenids... easily told apart with pix of both in front of you. Bob Fenner>

Juvenile eel ID Hi, I work as a dive instructor in Little Cayman, Cayman Islands. I recently found a small (1 inch max) black eel with yellow dashes down its body and a yellow T - shaped marking on its head. Any idea what it might be?  Thanks.  <Wow, that's small... might be a blenny actually... or if a true eel a Gymnothorax saxicola, Echidna catenata... You might go to Paul Humann, Ned Deloach's works on marine life of the area (see Amazon.com re), or fishbase.org under a search for Muraenids, Blennies of the region... see the search by locality, sort by family... Bob Fenner> 

Oops! Bob, <Jim ("I'm just a doctor!" Sorry re)> Just a quick observation from your eels page: the photo of the Echidna catenata and the photo of the juvenile Gymnothorax favagineus are the same photo!  I figure one or the other has got to be incorrect (that, or the scientists have done that junior synonym thing again).  I only noticed because my eel that I have had for several years matches the photo, and I was trying to figure out which one it is!  My guess is chainlink, as it is only about 11" and doesn't seem to be growing very quickly. Jim Jensen <Thank you for this correction... and likely you do have a Chainlink as you state. Bob Fenner>

What's in a name... of a species of moray eel Is the Banana eel the same as the Golden Dwarf?  They are both listed as Gymnothorax melametrus.  What and how often should they eat? Thanks. <Mmm, you've misspelled the moray's name... it's G. melatremus... Please see fishbase.org re the species many common names: http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.cfm?ID=7284&genusname=Gymnothorax&speciesname=melatremus see "More Information", common names...? And read through www.WetWebMedia.com re this species husbandry. Bob Fenner>

Mysterious Mini Moray! This is a few pictures of the smaller "Super Hitchhiker".  Hope you can tell what it is.  They are both the size of a BIC pen and have never changed size for at least the past 5 years. Ken Fleming <Well, I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest that it may be a Uropterygius species, possibly U. kamar or U. micropterus...Just guesses at this point. These are both small species, but the size that you are describing is consistent with the "Golden Dwarf Moray", Gymnothorax melatremus (although the color is off). These "mini-Morays" top off at around 18 cm, well within the size that you describe. Perhaps some research on fishbase.org will help narrow down the exact species. Good luck! Regards, Scott F.> McGraw/Kokosing

Fish on the Rocks? File IMG_0797.JPG is attached.  I checked the last e-mail and it was attached to it as well so I don't know what happened or if this one will make it as well. Ken Fleming <To be quite honest with you, I had a hard time picking out the details of the fish.  It almost looks like the tail end of a Canthigaster valentini (puffer) in terms of coloring!  However, if it's a moray, my guess would be a Ophichthus cephalozona or a Leiuranus semicinctus.  From the picture it looks like I was looking at the tail end of a fish.  I'm just making my judgment based on the color and general shape. If you can get a more clear picture and send it, I'll give it another shot.  Regards, Scott F.>

"Super Hitchhikers" (Eels In Live Rock!) Dear Crew: <Scott F. at the keyboard tonight!> We purchased an aquarium along with 70 or so pounds of live rock.  I believe it was Fiji rock.  The rocks contained two eels that no one was aware of. <Wow! Talk about a couple of cool "hitchhikers!> (The original owner of the tank eventually saw the eels at night after having the rock about six months.)  We have had the tank for about 5 years and had it for a year before the eels came out during a feeding. I have not been able to find out what type of eels they are and haven't been able to get a digital picture of them as they rarely come out of the rocks.  They are both pale blue-ish/mauve colored and both are about the size of a pencil with one being slightly larger than the other.  Every once in a while they will come partially out when we feed the other fish krill shrimp. We have emptied the tank on several occasions to move it or clean it and by holding the rocks above the water for a while, they usually drop out.  They always stay in rocks on the bottom so it's fairly easy to know which rock they are in.  I have never seen eels like this for sale anywhere and haven't seen anything on the inter-net to help me identify them.  The closest I've found was a picture of a Herre's Moray that grows to 12" but the coloring was wrong.  Neither eel has grown at all in the past five years but the color may have changed from mauve to more pale blue.  Although they never bother anything, they do get feisty when netted and appeared that they would bite (although their heads are so small) if actually held.   Any help in identifying the eels, or whatever they are, would be helpful. Ken Fleming <Well, Ken- I'd really have to see a picture to know what type of eels these are. I'd really like to see some...It would be interesting to see these fishes! Sorry I cannot be of further help here. Do get back to us! Regards, Scott F> McGraw/Kokosing

Muraena retifera/lentiginosa? 2/24/04 How does one tell the difference between these two Morays?  I've checked Fishbase, Googled their scientific & common names, and scoured the printed word only to find ... they live in different oceans.  That would be helpful if the store where I bought my eel could tell me where he was collected, and since they cannot I'm stumped.  I'd ask the fish, but he can't talk with his mouth full (which is pretty often) well, actually only every other day).  Fishbase gave some very vague topical descriptions about Muraena lentiginosa which really don't help me specify (heh-heh) much.  They had just about nothing on the retifera species (not knocking Fishbase - it's been extremely helpful many times).  Or am I just overlooking the dead-easy giveaway between the two? <Not sure here.  Our own WWM lists only M. Retifera here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/morays.htm  At the bottom of page two, there is a list of references which may be helpful if you can track them down.  From what I was able to find out, most of this genus is aquarium appropriate.  They are generally crustacean feeders (less aggressive than piscivores) and don't grow too large.> Some marine wholesalers I know of list "dragon" morays from two different locales - Mexico and Brazil.  The Mexican "dragon" is, of course, the jeweled M. lentiginosa.  Would that lead me to believe the Brazilian "dragon" to be the M. retifera? <Even a wholesalers word that an animal came from a particular locale is dicey.  Similar animals are usually kept nearby each other, and those from different sources are often chosen indiscriminately to fill orders.> Any time or assistance you can give me will be greatly appreciated.  Sorry for all the useless details in my question.  Thanks for all the website advice, too! J  <Glad to help.  Sorry for just pointing you in a very general direction, but you put quite a good stumper out there!  One other suggestion is to perform the same searches using Gymnothorax as the genus in case some incorrect nomenclature is in use.  Adam>

Mystery eel Okay, I've got one for you.  This creature was spotted in Maui's waters by a visitor who can't remember which beach he was on.  Not that it matters, but it's not in Jack's book, haven't heard back from him, but have heard from aquarists all over the globe.  No one can identify.  Can you, please?  We're wondering if we have a new endemic species here.  Kate V., Maui <Wowzah... have just come back from five weeks (minus the bunk week or so of western swell) of diving on Kona... and can't tell which puhi this is either. Am sending your pic to Dr. Randall for his input. Bob Fenner>

Re: mystery eel Aloha Bob, hoping you might recognize this one.  This animal recently turned up in Maui waters, and no one seems to know the species.  Do you, or anyone you know recognize him/her?  I've sent this pic all over the world, Australia, San Diego, and even Jack Randall (haven't heard back from him.)   I work at Maui Ocean Center and our curator can't help.  We're wondering if we might have a new endemic species. <I've looked through all my print resources as well as fishbase.org... and sent (I guess re-sent) the pic to Jack... Maybe a cross, maybe a new species? Bob Fenner>
Re: A request for input re identification of a puhi Bob: I know this seems wrong, but I think that eel is Gymnothorax eurostus, one of the most variable of muraenids. In my paper on Hawaiian muraenids with Eugenia B?lke, I show five color phases. One from Midway is white with black spots, a few of which are interconnected. I have seen a photo from Japan that looks just like the photo you sent. Aloha, Jack
<Thank you for this input... will share. Mahalo. Bob Fenner>
Re: eel ID hey, Bob <Antoine> FWIW... the query at the top of the daily page (currently) about that Hawaiian moray looks like G. eurostus to me. While hardly an expert on eels (or anything, for that matter, except porn stars of the 80s and Kim Chi... not to me mixed, by the way).. I have always had a love for morays in the aquarium. <... good call... I am about to post Dr. Randall's resp. re... and he says the same!> The photo they gave you is clear enough to me (for as much as we can ID from a photo)... telltale golden nose regardless of the reticulated body pattern (or not). FWIW A- <You da fish man! Bob>

My Eel, but What Eel is She? >Hi there, >>Hello. >Thank you for taking this letter. I have a few questions on an eel that I have.  I have looked through your site to try and find out what the true name of it is and I can not find any  thing that would look like *her*. >>Ok.. pic perchance?   >She is about 20" long.  She is a very light cream color with a nice pure white edge on her top and bottom fins.  She is about as thick as a 1/4 inch and is as wide as an inch *from top fin to bottom fin. >>Already sounds like a ghost eel, related to ribbon eels.  Lettuce take a look-see over at fishbase.org, shall we?  (Marina has Tracy hold while she runs a search on Fishbase..)  Wow.. not much to go on with Fishbase, but a Google has netted me this https://www.aquacon.com/images/sh09.gif Do take a look, if it resembles, then it's a ghost ribbon eel, listed on this site as genus Rhinomuraena, just as the "regular" ribbon eel.  Can't seem to find much more than that, but it's a start for you. >Her Face has nice black small spots on it, though it does not cover her whole head, only the back behind her eyes and a few over her nose area, they are about the size of a small pin head. >>That also fits the description of something called a snake or ghost eel.  Try here: http://www.liveaquaria.com/product/prod_Display.cfm?siteid=21&pCatId=1737 >I have been told that she is a  female white ribbon eel. Hence the "she". >>Ribbon eels do change color as they mature, and this includes sexual morph,  Try looking up Rhinomuraena quaesita. >I have had her for about a month now and she is doing great. Eating well though she goes on spurts of not wanting anything then just goes nuts for food. >>It would be good to determine what species this fish is.  If the "ribbon" eel, then may be problematic, are known to slowly starve to death in captivity.  If the snake eel/ghost eel, then it should be fine. >I try to entice her about every 4 days. some times she wants it and some times she does not. I have been told this is natural for them and by reading through your site. >>Not uncommon for this, though it does depend somewhat on species. >I found her at my fave LFS. She had come in as a trade due to her liking to eat the small fish such as the (P) clowns. How she was able to do this I don't know cause she can barely take the silversides at their thickest point (girth).  She is very peaceful and loves to come out to be hand feed, she has her own little place under the rocks where she had made a cave, sharing it with the Tang! >>DO be careful with hand feeding morays of any type.  Typically they have rather poor vision, and can easily mistake a finger for something more tasty.  If bitten, it will bleed copiously, styptic and antiseptic are in order.  Better to use a feeding stick or tongs. >I have her in a 90 gal tank with a regal tang, Fox face and two Clowns. >>Do watch your other fish, since she's already shown a propensity. >Also a few soft corals, flame scallop ( that is doing just fantastic over the past month ) and other things. >>Do try to target feed the flame as much as possible with food appropriate for filter feeders (your LFS should have this in stock).  They're another creature known to starve to death in captivity, rarely lasting more than a few months to a year.  Target feeding may be helpful. >I would really like to find out what she really is, what other foods she might like, and how I can make things more cozy for her. >>I would try fresh or fresh frozen meaty foods - krill, shrimp, squid, and the like.  It's good to soak in a good quality vitamin supplement a few times a week, I like Selcon.  You're already watching water quality with the other animals you have, so that's addressed.  Other than that, I hope she stays with you for many, many years, as many of these animals live for two and three decades.  Marina >Thanks - Cupcake the Eel, and Tracy! :)

We Love Cupcake the Eel >Hello once again! >>Hi Tracy! >First off, thank sooo much for the information that you have given me. >>You are very welcome, Tracy.  Someone once said that it's not as important to have much knowledge as it is to know *where* to look for it. >It has been the most that I have found so far!   >>I'm so glad to hear that.   >The first picture that you had sent looked kinda like her and I was a bit disheartened to see that it was not her... >>Ahh.. but the first picture was of an animal with a dismal record in captivity, the second we can expect to enjoy your company for many years to come. >...but then I had a look at the other one and wow! it was her! I was so happy to see her cute little face with that nice smile!   >>Ok, girl, you are what is known as "all et up" with that eel.  ;) >I want to thank you for sharing the information and looking up in places that I would have never thought of looking.  Please keep up with the good service and information for it is hard to find any where! >>Would you say you really get what you pay for with WetWebMedia?  <giggle>  It *is* hard to find information and service, I know exactly what you mean, and I'm very glad I could be of help. >I would have never thought that her small mouth could fit around my finger and that she is this dangerous to feed by hand. >>She may not be able to get her mouth *around* your finger, but she could get a part of it.  If you feel very comfortable feeding her by hand, then you can certainly do so, but do be aware of the risks (especially as she grows).  Also, do offer her a variety of foods (not just the silversides).  Shrimp, krill, strips of fresh squid - these are all very good for her. >I know she kinda goes for the side of my finger first until she smells where the food is then she grabs it and is on her way. >>I used to work at a shop with a LARGE green moray, and certain of us would indeed feed this monster by hand, but we used very long pieces of food, and used a particular technique that is difficult to describe here.  The biggest problem is that they just don't see as well as we'd like to be able to distinguish, and even if they did bite you, it's an honest mistake (much like a nip from a great white shark, eh?). >The caption of being an escape artist is so true.  Just as I was sitting here typing this out I had to rescue her from the down drain that leads to my sump, and the only way to get her out was trying to pick her up.... by the way they are very slimy and slippery when trying to get them out of small places ~laughing~ >>Indeed.  But, if she's willing to let you handle her like this, then I know you've got yourself an actual "pet".  She may even begin to "beg" for scratches, as some eels love being rubbed and tickled. >Cupcake and I look forward to reading about the information from other users and gaining knowledge to a wonderful and fulfilling hobby! >>Fantastic, I know you'll enjoy the experience (and THAT, my friend, is exactly why we're here!). >Cuppy the Eel and Tracy:)

Re: picture of mystery moray Here's the eel that i am having troubles identifying. I had actually referenced your pages about freshwater morays and brackish eels before even sending my first email, but nothing seemed to match my eel based on the descriptions and pictures on fishbase.org. I believe that it's still too young to have it's adult features for identification, which is driving me nuts. When all else fails, go back to the shops.... i checked the websites that sold fish and eels online. One eel that didn't show up on your page happened to be one of the best possibilities so far. Gymnothorax johnsoni , the white spotted moray, although I'm still not sure due to the patch color which isn't white. <it's hard to figure what type of fish it is from descriptions... But looking at your photos Thank you by the way!) there is an amazing resemblance to a white spotted moray.  I have only seen one of those before in a display tank in Buffalo NY and it was only about 18 or so inches long.  But your photos do seem to resemble that one. Though yours does seem to have a more creamier base coloration.> He's finally come out of his cave to go exploring, and i took this pretty picture of him with my two curious knight gobies taking notice as well. The second shot gives a picture of him with a good profile of his length. Using the side length of my aquarium like a 12" ruler, Co?l (coh-ah-tel) actually measures about 15 inches. There you have the best pictures that i can show so far. Any new ideas? <Well, it's still extremely hard to tell, but I think that you have narrowed the field down to a good couple of choices.  Since most of the ones we had discussed previously, as well as the white spotted seem to need the same living environment I don't see any real extreme problems.  It's just that the annoyance of not knowing what the eel is would drive me a bit crazy.  But, just give it a good home and all should be well. Take Care.  -Magnus>

Re: picture of mystery moray Congrats on your Diligent search!  I spent quite a bit of time on fishbase myself looking over eels after our last email session.   It's hard not to believe that your eel is the Red Sea Whitespotted.  Congrats on narrowing that big field down.   Hope you and your eel have a healthy and happy life! -Magnus

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