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FAQs about Morays Eel Identification 1

Related FAQs:  Moray IDs 2, Moray 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

Is this a G. fimbriatus?

Eel identification Hello Bob and crew, I have been reading tons on your site for my cichlid tank and saltwater tanks. The information I have found has been extremely helpful, thank you. <Welcome> A few weeks ago my wife and I started setting up our dwarf lionfish tank. We got some live rock from a LFS and started the cycle. The cycle finished and two days ago we got our dwarf fuzzy lion. This morning, while working on adjusting our dwarf lion to frozen food I was surprised to see an eel come out of the biggest piece of live rock. <Happens> I was quite shocked by this discovery. Now with our hitchhiker we have the task of identifying the eel and seeing if he is suited to our tank, and if so how to take care of him, not the ideal way to figure out how to take care of an animal after the fact, but we did not have a choice. OK, the eel is white and black striped, with wider stripes, probably about 1/2 inch stripes. Since we only saw the head and a little we could not tell more, but it looks like he could be 6 inches to a foot in length, and he looks like he could be close to 3/4 - 1 inch in diameter. His stripes seem more defined then the snowflake eels we have seen. I did see a banded snake eel online, but he does not quite look like this either. The first stripe starting at the head is white. Any ideas what this might be? <Not from this description> I will try to get a picture for identification if I can find a time when it is out. <This would really help> Thank you in advance for your help. Your site has already been a great help, and a lot of fun to read. Thank you, Andrew Morgenegg <Am sure you've looked at the few dozen species of eels we have pictured: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/marine/fishes/index.htm.  With a pic hopefully we can narrow down the possibilities here. Bob Fenner>

Hitchhiker Eel ID Hello Bob, Here is another picture that I just got of the eel that might help more. Thank you, Andrew Morgenegg <Ahh, very nice. And what a beauty! Looks like a juvenile Echidna polyzona... one of my fave species, genera. http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.cfm?ID=5389&genusname=Echidna&speciesname=polyzona  Left click on the pic... Bob Fenner> 

SW Eel ID   2/1/06 Robert,         thanks a lot for your time...I really need to contact a systematist. i know you can help me. I want to see some of your scans. I want to see Gymnothorax species that has resemblances or related to G. richarsonii and G. thyrsoides and G. tile...            thanks a lot...      Abner <...? Don't recall this conversation... For what purpose/s? You've scanned fishbase.org? Scott Michael's Reef Fishes v.1? Do you have an organism you're seeking identification of? Bob Fenner>  

Moray id Hello, Bob, can you, please, take a look at attached pictures and tell me what kind of moray eel it is? The first picture is a close up and the second is the complete picture. Thank you. Mila. <Mmm, might be a Gymnothorax miliaris... can't make it out too clearly. Take a look here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/moraysii.htm and on fishbase.org under the above scientific name. A gorgeous purple Acroporid near it eh? Bob Fenner>
Moray eel identification, help please! Hi Bob; I bought 2 small ells about 7" long and 8"long . The smaller one looks like a snowflake very much but I'm not sure about the bigger one. It also looks like juvenile white eye dwarf moray. Could u please identify the juvenile moray on this link? http://www.balbay.com/aqua/images/sfe2.jpg   Regards Tugi <Might be a juvenile Gymnothorax kidako: http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.cfm?ID=10143&genusname=Gymnothorax&speciesname=kidako Bob Fenner>

Moray Identification Help Hi Mr. Fenner    I am writing in  regards to an eel of mine which I have been trying to ID for a number of months now. I acquired it 6 months ago, and it has grown a few inches and acclimated quickly to my tank.    It is physically similar to my snowflake in terms of girth, head/mouth shape and other body structure. Length is 12-14 inches, and girth is slightly larger than my snowflake. Coloration is faint gold speckles on a purple background, and the eyes are of reddish coloration. Most notable is the bright green (almost glow-in-the-dark) stripe running across the dorsal fin, starting two inches behind the head, and wrapping ventrally under the tail for the last inch of so of the eel. <Sounds like nothing I've ever seen. Possibly a variant, or not-commonly seen juvenile coloration.>    I was given the eel by a friend who was forced to break his tank down. The dealer he purchased it from claimed it originated in the Philippines and was an "electric eel". From what I have gathered, there is no such true electric eel which lives in SW, and the only electric eel is a freshwater species which is not a true eel. <Correct... there are many "eels" that aren't... even non-fishes by that common name that have body shapes of many head lengths into something sinuous>    I have exhausted all possible avenues of ID, so I am hoping you might have some answers for me. I appreciate your time in reading this, and hope to hear from you soon.           Sincerely                 Bray Skultety <Mmm, you might read through all the Anguilliform families and pix on fishbase.org... Or send this description around (WITH a photo) to Dr. Randall, Scott Michael, others who are more familiar with eel families members. If you send us an image, we'll post it on WetWebMedia.com in the hopes someone (likely) will know what this animal is. Bob Fenner>

Yellow finned eel ID I emailed a while ago about a new unidentified eel I had gotten, and I finally have pictures to aid in the ID process. He's about 8 or 9 inches long, about as wide as a pen or a AAA battery at his thickest point. He eats like a pig, and will come searching around the tank if I pour in a little of the water I used to thaw krill or prawn with. (Even if I stick my fingers into the tank after touching some)  <I think what you have is Echidna rhodochilus Bleeker 1863, "Freshwater White-Cheeked Moray". You can see this animal on our site here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/FWSubWebIndex/fwmorayeels.htm > I found a white color variant Siderea thyrsoidea (white eye moray), and want to add it to my tank very much, but as it is probably close to a foot in length and maybe as big around as a nickel or larger, but I worry that my little yellow finned beauty will be eaten. <A valid concern. This latter animal will grow much more quickly than your current one> He is currently in a 38, and I can quarantine the white eyed in my (hopefully "eel proof") ten gallon a little longer than normal until I get my 75 up and running in a month or two, but do you think they will bother each other even in there? <Too likely so to suit me> It will be mostly dwarf lionfish; a dwarf zebra lion, a dwarf fuzzy lion, a Fu Manchu, 3(?) leaf fish, a cockatoo Waspfish, and the two eels. I have some shrimp in the 38 with the little guy, and he hasn't bothered them yet. I worry that my current little guy will get too big and eat the white eye moray in time too, since I don't know what he is (hoping not a longtail moray). Scott Michael's Reef fishes book states that white eye morays are not a threat to other eels, and regularly share holes with them, but it doesn't really say what kind of size difference is a safe margin for that statement. I would really like them both, and I worry that because my LFS does not get white eye morays in very often and I can't seem to ever find them on the internet,  <Look up both these species on fishbase.org> that I won't see another one, especially a white one. If I really need to, I can even keep the white eye in my 10 until my 75 is up, then keep him in there and my little guy in the 38, but I'd like to put them together. From the pictures, do you have any idea what my little guy might be? I have more picture, and although they're blurry, I can send them if you need them. Thanks, Valerie Hess p.s. I have already tried fishbase.org and I looked at EVERY SINGLE eel picture they had, but it didn't help. <Mmm, use their "Google Photos" patch on the (double lift click the image on their species identification pages) extended photo/s pages. Bob Fenner>

Eel ID Hello, I know it is difficult doing an ID off a description but I hoped you may have some ideas about an eel that arrived in a Bali shipment. The pattern and colors are almost identical to the kidako moray but the head profile is much blunter. Any ideas? Regards, Graham Hannan. <Hello Graham, the chances of this being a Gymnothorax kidako are pretty rare. Most likely what you have is a young chain link moray (Echidna catenata), they are very common and have a highly variable pattern. If you can get a pic please feel free to send it along. Best Regards, Gage>

Dear Mr. Fenner, Do recognized this eel? <It looks like Echidna rhodochilus... a fresh/brackish water moray (formerly) thought to be restricted to Indonesia and the Philippines> Note the very short dorsal and anal fins co-joined with the distinctly black and white caudal fin. Note that both fins start well rearwards of the anus and cover perhaps only the rear 6th of the entire body. <Will post on WetWebMedia.com with the hope that someone else will chime in with a better or validate this identification. Bob Fenner>   Sincerely Yours,
Michael N Trevor
Marshall Islands

Eel id Dear Mr. Fenner, Thank you for the quick response I do not think is even come close to that though Morays have an almost continuous fin from the neck or shoulders. The dorsal on this guy starts about 3 and a half feet away from the head behind the anus. <As I saw from your photo> Dr. Smith at the Smithsonian will be looking at is and Dr. Randall in Hawaii says he is clueless. <...! If Jack doesn't know...> I am wondering is it is not an escapee from a bucket, pot, cage of one of the Chinese/ Indonesian tuna boats here, i.e. someone's dinner---.    <Perhaps. Be chatting, Bob Fenner> Sincerely Yours,
Michael N Trevor
Marshall Islands

Re: Catching Jack (ID'ing Eel) The fact that Jack does not know it makes me suspect that is not a normal run of the mill marine organism.  Stumping Jack not a common occurrence. <Indeed, agreed. Bob Fenner> Sincerely Yours, Michael N Trevor
Air Marshall Islands
Moringua javanica Dear Bob It appears the eel was Moringua javanica. There is a paucity of information on the Moringuas in general and even some thing like Fishbase have a very limited number, with many of those being sketches only.  This was a very gravid female which gave her almost moray like proportions. After is died and I picked it up to try and scan an image and it could not even supports its own body contents. I ended up with eggs scattered thru out the house.    Regards, Michael N Trevor <Interesting indeed. I've never seen a live specimen of this genus. Bob Fenner>

- Eel ID - Hey crew, <Greetings, JasonC here.> It's been a long time.  I used to harass you fellas weekly!  I'm writing because I've come to kind of a cross road with my tank and I'm thinking of going in a different direction.  I have a 75gall with an 6in Emperor, a maroon clown, 3in Picasso, and a 3-4in Paddlefin wrasse.  I know I'm overcrowding my angel at this point.  This fish I've had for over a year and he/she is absolutely the most gorgeous Emperor I have ever seen in any store anywhere......also complete and utter barking terror to most anything that gets in it's way.  Well I'm moving out of home and into an apt in NYC soon and I'm taking my tank, but upgrading to a larger tank (which I'd love more then anything...believe me!) is not an option at this point due to $$ and space.  I'm now considering a new home for my angel and once I find a proper one, I'm really just thinking of starting all over.  I've always loved morays and more specifically the banana moray.  I was thinking that an eel in the 75 would be a good pal for a single guy in the city.....doesn't need to be fed 2x a day and whatnot.  I had never seen one of these banana morays in real life until today. <Well, I've never even heard of a 'banana eel' until today. I couldn't locate one by that common name on Fishbase or Google. You should ask the fish store where you've spotted this what the Latin name is... will help quite a bit in identification and captive care requirements, let alone the size it might grow to.> An LFS that I went to had a 10in one that was stunning.  Beautiful yellow with a few brown spots on him.  They said they've had him for 3 months but they have yet to see him eat. <That's no good.> Curiously he was very active and in no way skinny or whatever. <I can't honestly say that means much...> They said he may be eating at night but they weren't sure (which raised some red flags...not sure?) <Eating what? Are they missing anything from the tank?> What do you think? <I have much doubt.> I was thinking of going once in a while and feeding myself.  He's $300 so I'm not taking this thing unless it eats for me right?? <That is really a lot of money for an eel. Please... find out what type of eel this really is FIRST. Then do the research to see if you'll be able to care for it. THEN look more deeply into this specimen. You can start your research here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/morays.htm > Thanks a lot.....I really appreciate your take.  Rick <Cheers, J -- >

- Re: Eel ID - Oh my friend, I have read the moray section on WWM about 30 times. <Good deal.> Thanks for your input.  Will try to get the scientific name but if you look on the back of a box of Instant Ocean, you'll see the eel I'm talking about. <Wouldn't you know it... that doesn't help at all ;-) > I think I'm looking at a 4 footer or so at full size but this one is so small now that I know a 75 would be good for a year, year and a half at which point I will be able to provide better accommodations.  I know $300 is a lot for any fish but this place has phenomenal prices.  For example, they also had 3 LARGE male Dragon Morays......these guys were show quality man, right out of a magazine.  $600 each!!!!!  From what I've read that's a steal. <Have you checked with one of our sponsors, The Marine Center - they specialize in rare and hard-to-get specimens.> I had never seen one of these in real life till yesterday either.  Almost makes you want to go out and get a 500gall tank!  So what I'm saying is that $300 for this gorgeous eel is probably a good price.  But alas, you're right.......gotta see it eat.  And I asked them the same questions......(like "have you noticed that there is anything missing in the morning??)  They didn't seem to know which leads me to believe that it hasn't eaten a darn thing in 3 months.  So I guess I'll pass on it.  Care to make a recommendation??  (not a Chainlink or a snowflake though......i want a badass) <Just make sure you nail the lid on, and make sure there are no spaces in the lid from which it can escape. Eels are expert escape artists and will do so at the least opportune times - like when you are sleeping or away at work.> Gracias Rick <Cheers, J -- >

Moray eel id Hello team, I am looking for an eel ID.  I have a moray that I obtained from a store I was working for.  Its overall patterning is almost identical to the javanicus, however its head has a white splotch on the nose and it has light-coloured eyes. any ideas? Thanks and regards ...Graham Hannan <Mmm, not much to go on with this description. If you have time, interest, you might go over the huge amount of material on the family Muraenidae (the morays) on fishbase.org (go to the site, search by family... click on each individual species, read the descriptions, look at the pix there and on Google (they have a link)... there are more than 200 possibilities... and Scott Michael's v. 1 of "Reef Fishes" book has many moray species described, pictured... Bob Fenner>

- Eel ID - Bob, <Actually, JasonC today...> I just bought a really small what is called a sulphurhead moray. <Could it be the Gymnothorax ruppelliae - the Yellow headed or Banded Moray?> His head can turn a yellowish color. <And is true for the G. ruppelliae as well, look for a brown spot at the back of the mouth, grey bands around the body... less visible in adults.> The rest of him is brown. <Could still be the same, their color changes as they get older.>  I was curious if you had any info about this species seeing I cant find any in your database. <Same as most moray eels, this one grows to little over 30 inches... likely requires same care as many others.> Thank-you.
Gary Churchill
<Cheers, J -- >

- ID This Eel... - Hello Bob and friends, <Good morning, JasonC here...> I just bought this little fellow the other day for a reasonably good price. I attached a image of him that I just took. Now he looks like a Tesselata or tessellated eel I guess, but what kind to be certain I cannot figure out. As you can see his spots are pretty large. I don't think he's a Chainlink. What's your opinion and also what's the overall expected size/life expectancy of these??? <Looks to me like a Gymnothorax favagineus, which is known to some as the Tessellated Moray, to others the Honeycomb or Leopard Moray. More information on these here: http://www.wetwebmedia.com/morays.htm Cheers, J -- >

Moray eel identification <These images... the distinctive snout... Don't know what this is... looks like a juvenile Gymnothorax miliaris in most ways. Do you know where this specimen was collected? Not in the Mediterranean (G. helena)... Bob Fenner>

Still Italian moray Hi Bob, Sorry but I think my e-mail has had some problems, so I think I sent you an old message again by mistake. This is the right one though: I must say you really scared me by mentioning G. helena...if you consider that I didn't take an E. nebulosa because it would have been bigger than the moray I had chosen. <No desire for frightening or upsetting you...> Eventually, the LFS told me he doesn't sell Mediterranean fishes. Actually, my moray should come from Singapore, so it can't be G. miliaris; he might be a G. thyrsoideus after all, what do you think?  <Possibly... though Singapore is a huge transit-zone for world goods... your fish may well have been shipped to there from elsewhere. Also, assuredly, the Morays on this planet have not all been cataloged/identified> Sorry to bother you unendingly with this taxonomy stuff, but there is a reason why I liked so much Microbiology lessons some years ago. Thanks for the bibliographic references. Unfortunately, Ronald Thresher's work on reproduction is out of print, but I found a copy of his "Behavior and Ecology on the Reef and in the Aquarium", that I'm ordering together with Scott Michael's "Reef Fishes" and another book for conscientious marine aquarist, which I suppose it's yours. Can't wait to read it. Ciao! Lore <Ahh, know you will enjoy, gain by these readings> PS. what do you mean, you have a Lorenzo there? <Oh, a friend, associate Lorenzo Gonzalez is part of the WWM team. Bob Fenner>

Moray Eel id, info. Hello, I have just recently discovered your Website and find it extremely helpful. When I discovered the site, I had a whole slew of questions. Now I only have one (until the live rock gets here). <Ah ha!> I currently have a 125 gallon salt water tank with a pink tailed trigger, a Lyretail wrasse, a green wolf eel, and what I was told is a tiger eel (still not sure what it is).  <Mmm, there is a Muraenid, Gymnothorax enigmaticus with this common name, but this isn't it> I will be adding live rock to the tank in a couple of weeks. Are there any inverts that will survive with this mix? Thanks in advance. By the way here is a picture of the tiger eel (??) that I have. Is it in fact a tiger eel? Do you know how large it gets? <This is a Gymnothorax fimbriatus. See here on fishbase.org: http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.cfm?ID=6495&genusname=Gymnothorax& speciesname=fimbriatus A fish eater par excellence. Bob Fenner> Thanks again!!! Jeff from NC

"Yellow fin Eel" identification Good Morning, Afternoon, or Evening, I just got a small eel through mail order, and the place, which deals with some of the rarer eels fairly regularly, had no clue what it is. I have been planning on getting an eel for a while, and this one sounded very interesting so I got it, since a friend of mine offered to buy it for what I paid if it got to big or I didn't want it anymore. It's got a brownish pick body, with 2 raised up nostrils and a white/yellowish eye that is about even with the back of it's mouth, which is fairly small. The top jaw hangs over the bottom just slightly in a bulbous kind of way, making it very "cute." With it's mouth open (and closed too) it looks exactly like pictures I've seen of a Yellow Dwarf Moray, other than it's unusual color. Besides the pick-brown body color, the dorsal fin is fluorescent yellow (and I mean fluorescent), as is the fin on it's rear underside (seems to be a continuation of the same fin). The yellow does not fade in, there is a definite starting point at the base of his fin. It's about 8 inches long, and is already eating prawn after having it for 2 days. I have "Marine Fishes" and "Reef Fishes Volume 1" by Scott Michael, and the closest thing we could find to it was a white eyed eel, or a long tail moray (hope it's not one), though it also looked nearly identical in body structure to the yellow dwarf moray, minus the lack of eye stripe and the color. Based on their experience, the place I got it from told me they thought it might be a dwarf. I am assuming it to be a crustacean eater from the mouth structure, with no discernable teeth, so possibly getting 2 feet or so max? <Good description, and comparison with Scott's reference... don't know the species, ultimate likely maximum size... would "guess" at the size, nutritional needs as you have done> Is there anything you can think that it might be, or are those the only possibilities? How does one tell the difference between a White eye moray and a long tail moray as a youngster? Are there other color morphs of the white eye moray? I know there are nearly white ones. Is it even possible that he's a new species?  <Yes to the above> I will try to get a picture of it if I can find a friend with a digital camera that I can borrow. He's a beautiful little eel, and is in quarantine at a friend's tank until I can replace and decide if I'll re-set up my 38, which randomly cracked along it's whole length and drained onto my floor in about 5 minutes. <Yikes. No fun> Thank goodness he arrived later that afternoon and not earlier. I am planning on most likely not setting up a 38, and converting one of my discus tanks (a 75 gallon) to the 38's purpose, I want to know what he is so I know if I can get possibly a golden tail moray to go with him, not to mention the fact that I'm planning mostly dwarf lionfish and Scorpionfish, and I'd like to make sure they're not potentially going to be eaten (all of their full grown sizes range from ~4" to ~7"), or if he's a dwarf, the other way around. I'd like to have (assuming I use the 75) the eel, either a Chestnut Moray or a Goldentail Moray, 2-3 Leaf fish, a Fu Manchu lionfish, a Blackfoot Lionfish (if I can find one) and either a Sea Goblin, a Dwarf Fuzzy Lionfish, or a Dwarf Zebra Lionfish.  <All similarly tolerant of crowding, self-generated pollution> There will be roughly 50 lbs of live rock, though I'll probably try to get more for the 75, and I'll do Caulerpa and various mushrooms throughout the tank, possibly with a colt coral or an anchor coral. I'll be using a Fluval 404 and an Amiracle SL-5 hang on the back "sump." The tank will now essentially revolve around this eel (assuming it's one of a manageable full grown size). Please let me know what you think it may be, or tell me if I need to send in a picture to be of any help. Sorry to be so lengthy. Thank you very much, Valerie Hess <Do send along images as you make them. Bob Fenner>

Moray eels I found your site @ http://www.wetwebmedia.com/morays.htm and found it very informational. I do have one question for you... does a complete list (along with pictures) of all known moray eels exist? I'd really like to have a "picture book" if one exists. Thanks! <No complete one as far as I'm aware. Scott Michael's v.1 Reef Fishes has about the best, most complete listing, image collection that I've come across for hobbyist/husbandry use. Fishbase.org has a list of all valid and nominal species, and many collaborator's images... family Muraenidae... Bob Fenner>

? on Gymnothorax Permistus/Favagineus Hi Bob! First let me say Great Site! Second, BIG Problem with my 4 foot "Leopard Moray Eel". I have had this critter about 3 years now and it's been an absolute kick, except for the hundreds & hundreds of dollars worth of "other" inhabitants I've tried to introduce into it's domicile, that it's consumed, not to mention his constant ration of shrimp/squid etc.  <Yikes, well-stated> I finally, was able to introduce a larger Lion Fish ( Red Volitans) and BOTH respected each others territory been together for about 5 months). Several days ago I noticed a clouding of the Lion Fishes eyes and definite lethargy. I let it go for one day and decided to do a fairly substantial water change in the 150 gallon tank, the next day. <Good idea... and for the record, I would have added "a box" (a pound or more) of sodium bicarbonate... baking soda, dissolved in system water.> This AM (12-15-01) the Lion Fish was NOT doing well and was resting at the bottom. The Problem: The Lion Fish is now GONE and one can only assume that the Moray ate it. <Probable> I have heard of whole tanks being decimated with the toxin from the Lion Fish, BUT more importantly, what's the prognosis for the Moray? <From ingesting the Lion? Pretty good... Muraenids are tough in this category as well as so many others> Probably doesn't make much difference, but the Lion fish was about 8-9 inches (head to end of tail) in length. What can I expect? Is there any thing I can do, except wait 48 hrs. and simply "see what happens?". Anyone else have this happen? Any info will be most appreciated. Thanks in advance for your time and Happy Holi-daze....I think. <Mmm, more a concern is whatever declining water quality led to the Lion's eye cloudiness... I would check, modify pH, alkalinity, and maybe add a pound or five of activated carbon to your filter flow path... otherwise, not much else to do. Be chatting. Bob Fenner> Cordially, as always, Rich Waters

Moray ID 9/14/03 Greetings,   I was wondering if you could help me with a Moray eel Id. The animal in question is shaped much like a Dragon Moray. The pattern of the animal is chocolate to black with nice sized white pearl circles all over the body. The eel also has a pair of horns much like that of a Dragon Moray, and the head is elongated. Overall the animal looks much like a Dragon Moray without the spectacular coloring. I have searched everywhere and have not seen any photos or descriptions of this animal. Any info. would be of great help. Thank you. Best Regards, Michael Castiglioni <Michael... without a picture, it is nearly impossible for us to say. Let suggest you do a search of fishbase.org using the genus Muraena. I suspect you will fin what you are looking for from this group of horned morays. Anthony>

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