Overview

Brief Summary

Enchelynassa canina, often known as the Viper Moray Eel, is a species of large, stout uniformly dark brown moray eel with an elongate, laterally compressed body and a tapering tail. It has strongly arched jaws with long fang-like teeth and a long bilobed flap on the anterior nostrils. Only the tips of the jaws meet, so the impressive teeth are visible even when the mouth is closed. Reported maximum total length is over 1.5 m. This species is known from the Hawaiian and central Pacific islands west to Mauritius in the Indo-Pacific and from Clipperton Island and Panama in the eastern Pacific. It is found on outer reefs and reef flats down to 30 m and is said to be nocturnal, feeding on fishes and octopuses. (Böhlke and Randall 2000 and references therein)

Moray eels are “sit-and-wait” predators. Theys are often seen with just their head sticking out of a rock crevice, waiting for a fish to swim by. When the prey is close enough, the eel quickly attacks it, then retreats back into the rock or coral.

  • Böhlke, E.B. and J.E. Randall. 2000. A Review of the Moray eels (Angulliformes: Muraenidae) of the Hawaiian Islands, with Descriptions of Two New Species. Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia 150: 203-278.
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Comprehensive Description

Description

  Common names: moray (English), morena (Espanol)
 
Enchelynassa canina (Quoy & Gaimard, 1824)


Longfang moray,     Viper moray



Front nostril a short tube with a long 2-lobed flap at rear end; rear nostril above front of eye, large, oval and cup-like, with a raised rim;  jaws long, arched so do not shut completely; extremely long canine teeth at front of jaws, and inner row on side of upper jaw; dorsal and anal fins developed as skin-covered ridges, but clearly evident; dorsal origin before gill opening; skin with narrow irregular ridges.

Dark brownish grey with vertical thin blackish lines in grooves on skin; each pore along side of jaws in a small pale to whitish spot.


Size: reported to 250 cm.

Habitat: rocky bottoms.

Depth: 2-20 m.

Widespread in the tropical Indo-Pacific; in the eastern Pacific it is known from Clipperton Island and the Gulf of Chiriqui, Panama.
   
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Biology

Inhabits areas with strong surge such as benches, outer reef flats and reef fronts (Ref. 9710). Benthic (Ref. 58302). Very secretive during the day; feeds on fishes and octopi at night (Ref. 9710). May bite by accident or when provoked.
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Distribution

Zoogeography

See Map (including site records) of Distribution in the Tropical Eastern Pacific 
 
Global Endemism: All species, TEP non-endemic, Indo-Pacific only (Indian + Pacific Oceans), "Transpacific" (East + Central &/or West Pacific), All Pacific (West + Central + East)

Regional Endemism: All species, Eastern Pacific non-endemic, Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) non-endemic, Continent + Island (s), Continent, Island (s)

Residency: Resident

Climate Zone: Equatorial (Costa Rica to Ecuador + Galapagos, Clipperton, Cocos, Malpelo)
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Indo-Pacific: Chagos Islands and Reunion (Ref. 53568), to Panama, north to Marcus and the Hawaiian Islands, south to Tonga and Mangaréva.
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Indo-Pacific: Réunion (western Mascarenes) and Chagos Archipelago east to Hawaiian Islands and Panama, south to Tonga.
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Depth

Depth Range (m): 2 (S) - 20 (S)
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Physical Description

Morphology

Dorsal spines (total): 0; Dorsal soft rays (total): 0; Analspines: 0; Analsoft rays: 0
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Size

Length max (cm): 250.0 (S)
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Size

Maximum size: 2500 mm TL
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Max. size

250 cm TL (male/unsexed; (Ref. 30874))
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Diagnostic Description

Each posterior nostril which is located in front of, and above the eye, is large and surrounded by a fleshy rim, and each anterior nostril bears a bilobed fleshy protuberance which is absent in species of Enchelycore.
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Ecology

Habitat

Environment

reef-associated; marine; depth range 1 - 30 m (Ref. 58302)
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Depth range based on 14 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 14 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 1 - 10
  Temperature range (°C): 25.335 - 29.336
  Nitrate (umol/L): 0.045 - 0.402
  Salinity (PPS): 34.134 - 36.148
  Oxygen (ml/l): 4.454 - 4.757
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.092 - 0.301
  Silicate (umol/l): 1.072 - 4.752

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): 1 - 10

Temperature range (°C): 25.335 - 29.336

Nitrate (umol/L): 0.045 - 0.402

Salinity (PPS): 34.134 - 36.148

Oxygen (ml/l): 4.454 - 4.757

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.092 - 0.301

Silicate (umol/l): 1.072 - 4.752
 
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.

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Depth: 2 - 10m.
From 2 to 10 meters.

Habitat: reef-associated.
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Salinity: Marine, Marine Only

Inshore/Offshore: Inshore, Inshore Only

Water Column Position: Bottom, Bottom only

Habitat: Reef (rock &/or coral), Reef only, Rocks, Corals, Reef associated (reef + edges-water column & soft bottom)

FishBase Habitat: Reef Associated
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Trophic Strategy

Inhabits areas with strong surge such as benches, outer reef flats and reef fronts. Very secretive during the day, feeds on fishes and octopi at night (Ref. 9710).
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Feeding

Feeding Group: Carnivore

Diet: octopus/squid/cuttlefish, bony fishes
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Life History and Behavior

Reproduction

Egg Type: Pelagic, Pelagic larva
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Enchelynassa canina

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 1
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List: Not evaluated / Listed

CITES: Not listed
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Threats

Not Evaluated
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Wikipedia

Viper moray

The viper moray, Enchelynassa formosa, (E. canina is also a valid species name; the viper moray was formerly considered to be an Enchelycore species) is a species of saltwater eels, the only member of the genus Enchelynassa of the Muraenidae (Moray eel) family. It is found in the Indo-Pacific oceans. It can grow up to 250 cm.

References[edit]

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