Ribbon Eel, Rhinomuraena quaesita Garman 1888

Other Names: Ribbon Moray

A Ribbon Eel , Rhinomuraena quaesita, at Manado, North Sulawesi, Indonesia. Source: Bernard Dupont / Flickr. License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike


This striking eel with enormous nostrils is the only moray to undergo abrupt colour changes as it grows. Small juveniles are jet black and develop a yellow dorsal fin. Males are bright blue with a yellow snout, lower jaw and dorsal fin. Females are yellow with a black anal fin and sometimes blue posterior coloration. 

Video of Ribbon Eels in SE Asia.

A male Ribbon Eel swimming over a reef.

A juvenile Ribbon Eel swimming at Kankadya in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Cite this page as:
Dianne J. Bray, Rhinomuraena quaesita in Fishes of Australia, accessed 21 Apr 2024, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/3568

Ribbon Eel, Rhinomuraena quaesita Garman 1888

More Info


Recorded in Australia from Central Western Australia to the Northwest Shelf and Ashmore Reef, WA, and the Capricorn Group, Great Barrier Reef, Queensland; also Christmas and Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Indian Ocean. Elsewhere, widespread in the tropical, Indo-west Pacific. Inhabits in burrows in sandy or rubble areas adjacent to coral reefs.


Ribbon eels are sequential hermaphrodites, and change sex from male to female during their life cycle.

Species Citation

Rhinomuraena quaesita Garman, 1888, Bull. Essex Inst. 20: 114. Type locality:
 Ebon Island, Marshall Islands.


Dianne J. Bray

Ribbon Eel, Rhinomuraena quaesita Garman 1888


Allen, G.R. 1996. New records of reef and shore fishes from northwestern Australia. Records of the Western Australian Museum 18: 109-112.

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. & R.C. Steene. 1988. Fishes of Christmas Island Indian Ocean. Christmas Island Natural History Association, Christmas Island, Indian Ocean, 6798, Australia. 197 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

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.

Garman, S. 1888. An eel from the Marshall Islands. Bulletin of the Essex Institute 20: 114-116 1 fig.

Kuiter, R.H. 1996. Guide to Sea Fishes of Australia. New Holland. 433 pp.

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.

Russell, B.C. 1983. Annotated checklist of the coral reef fishes in the Capricorn-Bunker group, Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority. Special Publication Series 1: 1-184 figs 1-2

Sadovy de Mitcheson, Y. & M. Liu. 2008. Functional hermaphroditism in teleosts. Fish Fish. 9(1): 1-43.

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37060058

Biology:Changes sex

Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:1-57 m

Feeding:Aquarium fish

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:130 cm TL

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