Australian Mottled Moray Eel (Gymnothorax prionodon) - Wiki
Australian mottled moray
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[Photo] Australian Mottled Moray Eel (Gymnothorax prionodon). Photo by Ian Skipworth
The Australian mottled moray (in Australia), and mottled moray (in New Zealand), Gymnothorax prionodon, is a moray eel of the family Muraenidae, found around Australia and around offshore islands off the coast of Northland north of the Bay of Islands on the North Island of New Zealand, at depths down to 80 m, in reef areas of broken rock. Their length is between 80 and 150 cm.
The Australian mottled moray is a very elongate scaleless fish with a large mouth full of prominent backward facing teeth, hinged so that they can fold back but lock when prey tries to struggle free. Its colour is dark brown with a mottled arrangement of white spots, close together on the head and more widely spaced towards the tail.
The Australian mottled moray lives in rocky reef areas, spending most of its time with its head emerging from its cave or crevice, mouth agape. The open-mouthed stance is not aggression - morays need to continuously draw water through their small gills. They are active mostly at night but will move about occasionally during the day if food is detected. Their diet is made up of crabs, sea urchins, and small fish such as blennies and scorpionfish.
When hooked, morays fight energetically even tying themselves in knots and it is often impossible to remove the hook.
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