Giant moray

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Giant moray
Moray eel komodo.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Anguilliformes
Family: Muraenidae
Genus: Gymnothorax
Species: G. javanicus
Binomial name
Gymnothorax javanicus
(Bleeker, 1859)
Prague sea aquarium

The giant moray (Gymnothorax javanicus) is a species of moray eel found at reefs in the Indo-Pacific. In terms of body mass, it is the largest moray eel (the slender giant moray is longer).[1]

Range and habitat[edit]

The giant moray is widespread in the Indo-Pacific region, being found in the Red Sea and East Africa, the Pitcairn group, north to the Ryukyu and Hawaiian islands, south to New Caledonia, Fiji and the Austral Islands.[1][2] It is found in lagoons and seaward reefs.[2]


As the name suggests, this is a large eel, reaching up to 3 m (9.8 ft) in length and 30 kg (66 lb) in weight. While juveniles are tan in colour with large black spots, adults have black specks that grade into leopard-like spots behind the head and a black area surrounding the gill opening.[2]


The giant moray mainly feeds on fish and crustaceans.[2] It has been known to engage in cooperative hunting with the roving coralgrouper (Plectropomus pessuliferus).[3]


This species may be hazardous to people. Being at the top of the food chain, it is likely to cause ciguatera poisoning if eaten.[1][2] It has been implicated in provoked and unprovoked attacks on scuba divers.[1][2][4]


  1. ^ a b c d Lieske, E. and Myers, R.F. (2004) Coral reef guide; Red Sea London, HarperCollins ISBN 0-00-715986-2
  2. ^ a b c d e f Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2007). "Gymnothorax javanicus" in FishBase. 5 2007 version.
  3. ^ Bshary R, Hohner A, Ait-el-Djoudi K, Fricke H (Dec 2006). "Interspecific communicative and coordinated hunting between groupers and giant moray eels in the Red Sea". PLoS Biol. 4 (12): e431. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0040431. PMC 1750927. PMID 17147471. 
  4. ^ Siliotti, A. (2002) fishes of the red sea Verona, Geodia ISBN 88-87177-42-2