Diagnostic Description

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Worldwide in tropical and temperate seas. Diverse group of eels with large mouths with numerous teeth; often with fanglike (canine) teeth. Dorsal fin origin usually before the gill openings; median fins confluent with caudal fin; no pelvic and pectoral fins. Gill openings as small roundish lateral openings. Head with 1-3 lateral line pores; absent on body. Scaleless. Recorded maximum length 3.0 m. Some morays cause ciguatera fish poisoning. A skin toxin was noted in an Indo-Pacific moray eel. Adults benthic, generally in shallow water among rocks and coral heads; many species are more active at night and hide in holes and crevices during the day. Vicious reputation is undeserved, although some species will bite if provoked. Feed mainly on crustaceans and small fishes. Larvae (leptocephali) epipelagic, widespread and abundant.


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Source: World Register of Marine Species

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