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Echidna nebulosa, Snowflake Moray Eel. Scott W. Michael

[edit] Overview

The Order Anguilliformes contains most of the marine fishes recognized as eels, including the moray, snake eels, and congers.

The morays are characterized by elongate bodies, a lack of scales (if scales are present, they are deeply embedded cycloid scales), no pelvic fins or pelvic girdle, caudal fins that (when present) are confluent with the dorsal and anal fins, swim bladders with a duct, and leptocephalus larvae.

Most are marine fishes, although several occur in brackish conditions or will enter freshwater. The largest moray attains a maximum length of 3.9 m (12.7 ft.). Many of these fishes have long, needlelike teeth, while some have round, molariform dentition. The morays have posterior nostrils that are usually located above the eyes. Morays are particularly adept at slipping through tight openings and small holes in the reef, where they refuge and capture prey.


Native range:

Taxonomic rank: Family

Common name: MORAY EELS

Total known Total profiles
Subfamilies 2 0
Genera 15 3
Species 200 5

Captive care: Most of the morays readily acclimate to captivity, although some get too large and aggressive for the average home aquarium. Be sure to know the maximum length attained by any species being considered for purchase, and use care when handling or working in a tank with a species that is a known biter. The morays are renowned for jumping or slithering out of the tank. Be sure that the aquarium is of adequate size and that it is securely covered. Provide suitable hiding places, such as stable rocky caves.

Feeding: Offer a varied diet that includes fresh fish and crustacean meat. Avoid the use of feeder fish, which may cause some species to become more of a threat to fish tankmates. Note that morays may fast when first acquired and are able to go without feeding for weeks at a time without apparent ill effect.

Notes: Morays may eat any crustacean or fish tankmate that can be swallowed whole (some will bite chunks from larger prey species). Exercise care in selecting a moray species or placing one in a community aquarium.

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