Undulate Moray, Gymnothorax undulatus (Lacépède 1803)

Other Names: Gradient Moray, Leopard Moray, Mottled Moray, Mottled Reef-eel, Undulated Moray

An Undulate Moray, Gymnothorax undulatus, on Great Detached Reef, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, October 2005. Source: Erik Schlogl / iNaturalist.org. License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial

A large distinctive moray with a greenish-yellow head, an undulating pattern of large close-set dark brown blotches on the body and fins forming irregular bars, and smaller dark spots in the paler spaces between the blotches.
The Undulate Moray is aggressive and may bite.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2016, Gymnothorax undulatus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 23 May 2019, http://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/3818

Undulate Moray, Gymnothorax undulatus (Lacépède 1803)

More Info


Houtman Abrolhos, Western Australia, to at least Julian Rocks, New South Wales. Elsewhere the species occurs in the tropical, Indo-Pacific. 
A common nocturnal inhabitant of reef-flats, lagoons and seawards reefs.


Carnivore - feeds at night on fishes, octopus, and crustaceans.

Species Citation

Muraenophis undulata Lacépède 1803, Hist. Nat. Poiss. 5: 629, 642, 644, Pl. 19 (fig. 2). Type locality unknown.


Bray, D.J. 2016


Australian Faunal Directory

Undulate Moray, Gymnothorax undulatus (Lacépède 1803)


Allen, G.R. 1997. Marine Fishes of Tropical Australia and South-east Asia. Perth : Western Australian Museum 292 pp. 106 pls.

Allen, G.R. & Erdmann, M.V. 2012. Reef fishes of the East Indies. Perth : Tropical Reef Research 3 vols, 1260 pp. 

Allen, G.R. & Smith-Vaniz, W.F. 1994. Fishes of the Cocos (Keeling) Islands. Atoll Research Bulletin 412: 21 pp.

Böhlke, E.B. & McCosker, J.E. 2001. The moray eels of Australia and New Zealand, with the description of two new species (Anguilliformes: Muraenidae). Records of the Australian Museum 53: 71-102 figs 1-10 

Grant, E.M. 1975. Guide to Fishes. Brisbane : Queensland Government, Co-ordinator General’s Department 640 pp.

Grant, E.M. 2002. Guide to Fishes. Redcliffe : EM Grant Pty Ltd 880 pp.

Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. A comprehensive reference for divers and fishermen. Sydney, NSW, Australia : New Holland Publishers xvii, 434 pp. 

Johnson, J.W. 1999. Annotated checklist of the fishes of Moreton Bay, Queensland, Australia. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 43(2):709-762.

Lacépède, B.G. 1803. Histoire Naturelle des Poissons. Paris : chez Plassan Vol. 5 803 pp. 21 pls. 

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1990. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 507 pp. figs. 

Richardson, J. 1848. Ichthyology. 75-139 pls 42-43 & 44 (parts), 45-52, 53 in Richardson, J. & Gray, J.E. (eds) The Zoology of the Voyage of H.M.S. Erebus and Terror under the Command of Captain Sir James Clark Ross, R.N., F.R.S., during the years 1839–43. London : Smith, Elder & Co. Vol. 2 139 pp. (as Muraena cancellata)

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37060053


Depth:9-110 m

Max Size:150 cm TL

Max Size:Reef associated

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Species Maps

CAAB distribution map