Tag: Giant Moray Eel (Gymnothorax javanicus)

Growing to a maximum length of between 2 - 3m, the Giant Moray Eel (Gymnothorax javanicus) is the largest, although not the longest member of the Moray Eel family in terms of body mass and bulk, in much the same way as the Green Anaconda is considered the largest living snake as opposed to the longer Reticulated Python.

The title of the world's longest Moray Eel actually goes to the Slender Giant Moray Eel, also known as the Gangetic Moray Eel (Strophidon jathete) which may reach lengths of up to 4m.

Although Giant Moray Eels may historically have attained a fearsome reputation, this is due almost entirely to their appearance and size rather than attacks on humans.

As a shy, reclusive, nocturnal hunter, attacks on humans are incredibly rare and are almost certainly the result of provocation or self defense.

Adult Giant Morays are easy to identify due to their size alone, although other distinguishing features include an overall brown/green-ish colouration with dark spots, which in some cases give the appearance of a leopard-like pattern. There is also a dark marking around the circular gill opening.

As with other members of the Muraenidae family, they lack pectoral fins, whilst the dorsal fins form a single, continuous fin from the rear of the head to the tail.

They have relatively small dark, red-ish/brown eyes and pronounced nostrils, both of which are evidence of their nocturnal nature and heavy reliance on their sense of smell rather than sight.

One peculiar feature which i've observed often with this species is what appears to be a covering over the teeth. This "covering" seems more like skin in the process of being shed, rather than a permanent covering. So far i've been unable to find any mention of it in reference material.

With a diet consisting mainly of small fish and crustaceans, Giant Morays are unlikely to have any natural predators of their own, with only human hunters posing them any real danger.

The Giant Moray, although extremely common on Thailand's west coast, is rarely seen in local waters although there is what appears to be a very small, isolated population at Sail Rock.

Growing to a maximum length of between 2 - 3m, the Giant Moray Eel (Gymnothorax javanicus) is the largest, although not the longest member of the Moray Eel family in terms of body mass and bulk, in much the same way as the Green Anaconda is considered the largest living snake as opposed to the longer Reticulated Python.

The title of the world's longest Moray Eel actually goes to the Slender Giant Moray Eel, also known as the Gangetic Moray Eel (Strophidon jathete) which may reach lengths of up to 4m.

Although Giant Moray Eels may historically have attained a fearsome reputation, this is due almost entirely to their appearance and size rather than attacks on humans.

As a shy, reclusive, nocturnal hunter, attacks on humans are incredibly rare and are almost certainly the result of provocation or self defense.

Adult Giant Morays are easy to identify due to their size alone, although other distinguishing features include an overall brown/green-ish colouration with dark spots, which in some cases give the appearance of a leopard-like pattern. There is also a dark marking around the circular gill opening.

As with other members of the Muraenidae family, they lack pectoral fins, whilst the dorsal fins form a single, continuous fin from the rear of the head to the tail.

They have relatively small dark, red-ish/brown eyes and pronounced nostrils, both of which are evidence of their nocturnal nature and heavy reliance on their sense of smell rather than sight.

One peculiar feature which i've observed often with this species is what appears to be a covering over the teeth. This "covering" seems more like skin in the process of being shed, rather than a permanent covering. So far i've been unable to find any mention of it in reference material.

With a diet consisting mainly of small fish and crustaceans, Giant Morays are unlikely to have any natural predators of their own, with only human hunters posing them any real danger.

The Giant Moray, although extremely common on Thailand's west coast, is rarely seen in local waters although there is what appears to be a very small, isolated population at Sail Rock.

Alan's picture
Giant Moray (Gymnothorax Javanicus)

This photo clearly shows the dark ring around the gill opening, one of the distinguishing features of the Giant Moray (Gymnothorax Javanicus).

Alan's picture
Giant Moray (Gymnothorax Javanicus)

A close-up of the unusual skin-like covering on the teeth of a Giant Moray (Gymnothorax Javanicus) at Sail Rock, Koh Phangan.

Alan's picture
Giant Moray (Gymnothorax Javanicus)

In this photo of one of resident Giant Moray's (Gymnothorax Javanicus) at Sail Rock, the unusual sheath-like covering can be seen quite clearly on the tee

Alan's picture
Giant Moray (Gymnothorax Javanicus)

In this photo, the familiar leopard-like markings of the adult Giant Moray (Gymnothorax Javanicus) are clearly visible.