Banded Moray, Gymnothorax rueppellii (McClelland 1844)

Other Names: Banded Reef-eel, Yellow-headed Moray

A Banded moray, Gymnothorax rueppellii, at Bua, Fiji, November 2016. Source: Mark Rosenstein / License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike

A pale grey to greyish-brown moray with a 16-21 dark bars on the body and fins that become indistinct with growth, top of the head yellow and a dark spot at the corner of the mouth.

Video of a battle between a Banded Moray and Giant Moray

Cite this page as:
Dianne J. Bray, Gymnothorax rueppellii in Fishes of Australia, accessed 25 May 2024,

Banded Moray, Gymnothorax rueppellii (McClelland 1844)

More Info


Recorded in the Australian EEZ from off Karratha, Western Australia, and from the northern Great Barrier Reef to southern Queensland; also at Christmas Island and Cocos (Keeling) Islands in the Indian Ocean. The species occurs elsewhere in the Red Sea and Indo-West Pacific.
Usually shelters in crevices during the day, and often seen hunting out in the open at night.


Carnivore - mostly a nocturnal predator, feeding on fishes and crustaceans.

Species Citation

Dalophis rueppelliae McClelland, 1844, J. Nat. Hist. Calcutta 5(18): 213. (as D. rüppelliae). Type locality: Red Sea. 


Dianne J. Bray

Banded Moray, Gymnothorax rueppellii (McClelland 1844)


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

Allen, G.R. & Smith-Vaniz, W.F. 1994. Fishes of Cocos (Keeling) Islands. Atoll Research Bulletin 412: 1-21.

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.

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. & Smith, D.G. 2002. Type catalogue of Indo-Pacific Muraenidae. Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia 152: 89-172.

Castle, P. H. J. & McCosker, J. E. 1986. Family No. 41: Muraenidae. pp. 165-176 in Smith, M.M. & Heemstra, P.C. (eds). Smith's Sea Fishes. Johannesburg : Macmillan South Africa xx + 1047 pp. 144 pls.

Chen, H.-M., K.-T. Shao & C.T. Chen, 1994. A review of the muraenid eels (Family Muraenidae) from Taiwan with descriptions of twelve new records. Zoological Studies 33(1): 44-64.

Hutchins, J.B. 2001. Checklist of the fishes of Western Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum, Supplement 63: 9-50.

McClelland, J. 1844. Apodal fishes of Bengal. Journal of Natural History. Calcutta 5(18): 151-226 pls 5-14

McCosker, J.E. & Randal, J.E. 1982. Synonymies of Indian Ocean eels, with the description of Gymnothorax enigmaticus, a moray previously known as G. ruppeli. Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences 4 43(2): 17-24.

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.

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.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37060051

Depth:1-40 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:80 cm TL

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Species Maps

CAAB distribution map