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Nick Hope

Moray Eels from Lembeh and Burma

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Can anyone help me identify these 7 morays? The first 3 are from the Lembeh Strait. The last 4 are from the Mergui Archipelago in Burma, Indian Ocean.


Clearly it doesn't help that you can't see the full body. Sorry about that.


I guess a number of these (except the last) could be the palechin moray, Gymnothorax herrei, but I'm not sure.


Watching the video at 720p HD might help. All guesses appreciated!










last 3 in next post...

Edited by Nick Hope

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IMHO the head shape does not match Gymnothorax herrei, it lacks the the change from narrow snout to bulbous head. Have you considered Gymnothorax monochrous, brown moray?


I can't offer a guess for the last one.



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Nick & Bart

I think it unlikely you will ever get 100% positive ID's here. I have been down this route with what I thought was G. herrei. I asked Fishbase to submit some pics. to Dr. Randall and got this reply (ignore the bit about Oxycheilinus):


Hi Jim, Here is the email I received from Dr Randall. I think it won't hurt to keep the pictures on the thumbnail pages and let's just see if we get any comments from other viewers/users of FishBase.
Have a good day,


I have a paper by Eugenie Bohlke published in Pacific Science (2000) “Notes on the identity of small, brown, unpatterned Indo-Pacific moray eels, with descriptions of three new species.” One is Gymnothorax herrei, another G. pseudoherrei. It is difficult to distinguish these six species even with specimens in hand.

Oxycheilinus is nearly as difficult. I have trouble identifying adults. I checked and have no photos that look like that juvenile.

Sorry I can’t help on these two images.

Aloha, Jack


I managed to find the paper Dr. Randall refers to and you may find it useful. The link is: http://scholarspace.manoa.hawaii.edu/handle/10125/1665?show=full You will need to click at the bottom in the box headed "Item File(s)" to open a 22 page .pdf


Hope you find something useful



Edited by JimG

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Thanks very much guys. Jim, that is incredibly helpful.


A few of those species in the .pdf can be ruled out on the basis of distribution. G. pindae can be ruled out for the ones where more than one upper central fang can be seen. Really the contenders seem to be G. herrei, G. pseudoherrei, G. monochrous and, for those that might have just one upper central fang, G. pindae.


As you say, unlikely to get a positive ID, especially without being able to see where the dorsal fin starts in relation to the gill opening, and the exact layout of the teeth. Plus the fact that 2 have mangled faces.

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