Tag: Unidentified Moray Eel (Muraenidae sp.)

A small Moray Eel (Muraenidae sp.) pops its head out of a burrow in the sand at Mae Haad/Koh Ma beach.

As yet i've been unable to identify this species either online of in any reference books.

Not only does it differ physically from other local Moray species, its choice of habitat is unusual also.

I found two or three individuals in close proximity to each other in the murky outer slope, at a depth of around 12m.

One or more individuals appeared to inhabit a small tunnel at the base of a bowl-like pit in the silty substrate.

As yet, i haven't seen this species on the reef flat (which consists of a more sand/silt substrate) at Mae Haad, or at any other location.

Since only the head was visible, it is difficult to estimate the overall length, although its diameter was not much more than my thumb.

The most distinctive characteristics of this species (from what could be seen) were the tiny, brown/golden spots which created a "speckled" appearance on the dorsal area of the body and the pale/white eyes.

These spots faded ventrally, with the underside of the Eel being unmarked and pale brown - white, although it is very possible that the "speckled" markings may cover more of the ventral area along the length of the body.

The elongated nostrils (also known as nares) which are characteristic of Moray Eels, are visible at the end of the snout.

A small Moray Eel (Muraenidae sp.) pops its head out of a burrow in the sand at Mae Haad/Koh Ma beach.

As yet i've been unable to identify this species either online of in any reference books.

Not only does it differ physically from other local Moray species, its choice of habitat is unusual also.

I found two or three individuals in close proximity to each other in the murky outer slope, at a depth of around 12m.

One or more individuals appeared to inhabit a small tunnel at the base of a bowl-like pit in the silty substrate.

As yet, i haven't seen this species on the reef flat (which consists of a more sand/silt substrate) at Mae Haad, or at any other location.

Since only the head was visible, it is difficult to estimate the overall length, although its diameter was not much more than my thumb.

The most distinctive characteristics of this species (from what could be seen) were the tiny, brown/golden spots which created a "speckled" appearance on the dorsal area of the body and the pale/white eyes.

These spots faded ventrally, with the underside of the Eel being unmarked and pale brown - white, although it is very possible that the "speckled" markings may cover more of the ventral area along the length of the body.

The elongated nostrils (also known as nares) which are characteristic of Moray Eels, are visible at the end of the snout.

Alan's picture
Unidentified Moray Eel (Muraenidae sp.)

A small Moray Eel (Muraenidae sp.) pops its head out of a burrow in the sand at Mae Haad/Koh Ma beach.