Animal Species:Painted Moray, Gymnothorax pictus (Ahl, 1789)
The Painted Moray can be recognised by its fine black speckles which sometimes join to form diffuse spots. The species occurs in tropical marine waters of the Indo-Pacific and from islands of the tropical eastern Pacific.
Standard Common Name
Bar-cheeked Eel, Black-speckled Reef-eels, Peppered Moray
The Painted Moray can be recognised by its fine black speckles which sometimes join to form diffuse spots.
The species grows to around 1.2 m in length.
The Painted Moray occurs in tropical marine waters of the Indo-Pacific and from islands of the tropical eastern Pacific. In Australia it is known from north-west Cape, Western Australia, around the tropical north of the country, and south to the Capricorn Group, Queensland.
The map below shows the Australian distribution of the species based on public sightings and specimens in Australian Museums. Click on the map for detailed information. Source: Atlas of Living Australia.
Distribution by collection data
The species is known to occur in very shallow water on reef flats.
Feeding and Diet
where it feeds primarily on crustaceans, but also on fishes. It has been observed fully exposed as the tide recedes, sometimes leaping from the water to capture crabs on rocks above the surface.
- Bohlke, E.B. & J.E. McCosker. 2001. The moray eels of Australia and New Zealand, with the description of two new species (Anguilliformes: Muraenidae). Records of the Australian Museum. 53(1): 71-102.
- Paxton, J.R., D.F. Hoese, G.R. Allen & J.E. Hanley. 1989. Zoological Catalogue of Australia Vol.7 Pisces Petromyzontidae to Carangidae. Canberra: Australian Biological Resources Survey. pp. i-xii, 1-665.
- Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R & R.C. Steene. 1990. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Crawford House Press. Pp. 507.
- Randall, J.E. 1995. Coastal Fishes of Oman. Crawford House Publishing. Pp. 439.
- Randall, J.E. 2005. Reef and Shore Fishes of the South Pacific: New Caledonia to Tahiti and the Pitcairn Islands. University of Hawai’i Press. Pp. 584.
Mark McGrouther , Collection Manager, Ichthyology
Tags fishes, ichthyology, Peppered Moray, Gymnothorax pictus, Muraenidae, eel, black speckles, blotches/mottled, tropical water, marine, Bar-cheeked Eel, Black-speckled Reef-eels, > 1m, dots/spots, shallow water, reef flats,