Lipspot Moray, Gymnothorax chilospilus Bleeker 1865

Other Names: Whitelip Moray Eel, White-lipped Reef-eel

A Lipspot Moray, Gymnothorax chilospilus, at Shag Rock, North Stradbroke Island, Queensland, October 2020. Source: Nigel Marsh / License: CC By Attribution-NonCommercial

A pale yellowish to brownish moray covered in irregular brownish bars with branch-like markings, a large white blotch on the lower lip near the corner of the mouth, and a white spot surrounding each pore along the upper and lower jaws.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2020, Gymnothorax chilospilus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 26 May 2024,

Lipspot Moray, Gymnothorax chilospilus Bleeker 1865

More Info


Offshore reefs of north Western Australia and reefs in The Kimberley, Ashmore Reef in the Timor Sea, and the far northern Great Barrier Reef, Queensland, and reefs in the Coral Sea (Observatory Cay), to at least the Solitary Islands, New South Wales; also Christmas Island in the eastern Indian Ocean, the Lord Howe Province and Norfolk Island in the Tasman Sea. Elsewhere the species is widespread in the Indo-west-central Pacific, from South Africa to Hawaii, north to Taiwan and the Ryukyu Islands, Japan, and south to northern Australia. 
Inhabits shallow coastal reef flats, usually a depths to 5 m, but also on deeper rubble reefs to 45 m.


Vertebrae 121-133. 


The specific name chilospilus is from the Latin cheilos (= lip, edge) and the Greek spilos (= spot, speck, blemish), in reference to the distinctive white spot on the lower lip of this species.

Species Citation

Gymnothorax chilospilus Bleeker, 1864, Nederland. Tijdschr. Dierk 2: 52. Type locality: East Indies. 


Bray, D.J. 2020


Atlas of Living Australia

Lipspot Moray, Gymnothorax chilospilus Bleeker 1865


Allen, G.R. 1993. Fishes of Ashmore Reef and Cartier Island. Records of the Western Australian Museum, Supplement 44: 67-91

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

Allen, G.R., Hoese, D.F., Paxton, J.R., Randall, J.E., Russell, B.C., Starck, W.A., Talbot, F.H. & Whitley, G.P. 1976. Annotated checklist of the fishes of Lord Howe Island. Records of the Australian Museum 30(15): 365-454 figs 1-2

Allen, G.R. & Steene, R.C. 1988. Fishes of Christmas Island Indian Ocean. Christmas Island : Christmas Island Natural History Association 197 pp.

Allen, G.R., Steene, R.C. & Orchard, M. 2007. Fishes of Christmas Island. Christmas Island : Christmas Island Natural History Association 2 edn, 284 pp.

Bleeker, P. 1864. Poissons inédits indo-archipélagiques de l'ordre des murènes. Nederlandsch Tijdschrift voor de Dierkunde 2: 38-54. See ref at BHL

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

Böhlke, E.B., McCosker, J.E. & Smith, D.G. 1999. Family Muraenidae. pp. 1643-1657 in Carpenter, K.E. & Niem, V.H. (eds). The Living Marine Resources of the Western Central Pacific. FAO Species Identification Guide for Fisheries Purposes. Rome : FAO Vol. 3 pp. 1397-2068.

Charter, S.R. & Moser, H.G. 1996. Muraenidae: morays. pp. 88-91 in Moser, H.G. (ed.) The early stages of fishes in the California Current region. California Cooperative Oceanic Fisheries Investigations (CalCOFI) Atlas No. 33. 1505 pp.

Choat, J.H., van Herwerden, L., Robbins, W.D., Hobbs, J.P. & Ayling, A.M. 2006. A report on the ecological surveys undertaken at Middleton and Elizabeth Reefs, February 2006. Report by James Cook University to the Department of the Environment and Heritage. 65 pp.

Fowler, H.W. 1928. The fishes of Oceania. Memoirs of the Bernice P. Bishop Museum 10: 1-540 figs 1-82 pls 1-49 (as Lycodontis chilospilus)

Francis, M. 1993. Checklist of the coastal fishes of Lord Howe, Norfolk, and Kermadec Islands, southwest Pacific Ocean. Pacific Science 47(2): 136-170 figs 1-2

Francis, M.P. 2019. Checklist of the coastal fishes of Lord Howe, Norfolk and Kermadec Islands, southwest Pacific Ocean. figshare. Collection.

Francis, M.P. & Randall, J.E. 1993. Further additions to the fish faunas of Lord Howe and Norfolk Islands, southwest Pacific Ocean. Pacific Science 47(2): 118-135 figs 1-22 pls 1-4

Gill, A.C. & Reader, S.E. 1992. Fishes. pp. 90-93, 193-228 in Hutchings, P. (ed.)  Reef Biology. A Survey of Elizabeth and Middleton Reefs, South Pacific. Canberra : Australian National Parks Vol. 3, Kowari 230 pp. 

Hobbs, J-P.A., Newman, S.J., Mitsopoulos, G.E.A., Travers, M.J., Skepper, C.L., Gilligan, J.J., Allen, G.R., Choat, H.J. & Ayling, A.M. 2014. Checklist and new records of Christmas Island fishes: the influence of isolation, biogeography and habitat availability on species abundance and community composition. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology Supplement 30: 184–202

Johnson, J.W. 2010. Fishes of the Moreton Bay Marine Park and adjacent continental shelf waters, Queensland, Australia. pp. 299-353 in Davie, P.J.F. & Phillips, J.A. Proceedings of the Thirteenth International Marine Biological Workshop, The Marine Fauna and Flora of Moreton Bay. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 54(3)

Kuiter, R.H. & Tonozuka, T. 2001. Pictorial guide to Indonesian reef fishes. Part 1. Eels- Snappers, Muraenidae - Lutjanidae. Australia : Zoonetics pp. 1-302.

Moore, G.I., Morrison, S.M., Hutchins, B.J., Allen, G.R. and Sampey, A. 2014. Kimberley marine biota. Historical data: fishes. Records of the Western Australian Museum, Supplement 84: 161-206

Randall, J.E. 2005. Reef and shore fishes of the South Pacific. New Caledonia to Tahiti and the Pitcairn Islands. Honolulu : University of Hawaii Press 707 pp.

Randall, J.E., Allen, G.R. & Steene, R. 1997. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 557 pp. figs.

Ribout, C., Bech, N., Briand, M.J., Guyonnet, D., Letourneur, Y., Brischoux, F. & Bonnet, X. 2018. A lack of spatial genetic structure of Gymnothorax chilospilus (moray eel) suggests peculiar population functioning, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 125(1): 142-151,

Smith, D.G. 2019. Gymnothorax chilospilus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2019: e.T195716A2406968. Downloaded on 15 August 2020.

Smith, M.M. & Heemstra, P.C. 1995. Smith's Sea Fishes. Johannesberg : Macmillan South Africa 3rd Impression, i-xxxi + 1047 pp., 144 pls.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37060033

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:1-45 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:50 cm TL

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