White-margined Moray, Enchelycore schismatorhynchus Bleeker 1853

Other Names: Brown Moray Eel, Funnel-nostril Moray

A White-margined Moray, Enchelycore schismatorhynchus, in the Similan Islands, Thailand. Source: @perigor2000 / http://www.whatsthatfish.com/fish. License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike

A uniform pale greyish to tan moray becoming paler below on the head and anterior part of the body, with a conspicuous narrow white margin on the fins, and a dark brown tip on the anterior nostril.

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. 2022, Enchelycore schismatorhynchus in Fishes of Australia, accessed 24 May 2024, https://fishesofaustralia.net.au/home/species/4927

White-margined Moray, Enchelycore schismatorhynchus Bleeker 1853

More Info


Northern Great Barrier Reef to Swains Reefs, Queensland, and the Australian Territory of Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean. Elsewhere the species is widespread in the Indo-west-central Pacific, from the Red Sea, Mauritius, and Chagos Archipelago, to French Polynesia (absent from the Hawaiian Islands).
Inhabits lagoons and outer reefs, sheltering in crevices during the day, venturing out to feed at night.


Vertebrae–predorsal 4–6, preanal 61–65, total 137–146. Preanal length 2.0–2.2, predorsal length 9.5–11, head length 6.9–8.3, body depth at anus 17–29 (all in TL); snout length 4.9–5.7, eye diameter 9.5–12, upper-jaw length 2.2–2.6 (all in HL). Body moderately elongate; anus at or slightly before midlength; dorsal fin moderately tall, begins anterior to gill opening; anal fin begins immediately behind anus. Jaws slender, arched, not completely closing, leaving an elliptical gap between jaw tips and rictus, this gap generally more strongly developed in larger specimens. Eye well developed, at about midpoint of upper jaw. Gill opening small, broadly tubular, midlateral in position. Anterior nostril relatively long, reaching slightly beyond edge of upper lip when depressed, distal end distinctly flared and slightly funnel-shaped; posterior nostril rounded, located above anterior margin of eye. Teeth slender, conical, sharply pointed. Intermaxillary with a peripheral series of about 4–5 large teeth on each side, with several much smaller teeth in between; 3 median teeth, increasing in size from back to front. Maxilla with 3–6 enlarged inner teeth anteriorly, and about 16–26 much smaller outer teeth. Dentary with 4–5 large inner teeth anteriorly, and about 27–45 smaller outer teeth. Vomerine teeth uniserial, about 5–11, moderate in size and somewhat stouter than other teeth. 


The specific name schismatorhynchus is from the Greek schisma (= a split, division) and the Latin rhynchus (= beak, snout) in reference to the very wide mouth (snout) cleft of this species.

Species Citation

Muraena schismatorhynchus Bleeker, 1853, Natuurwetensch. Tijdschr. voor Nederlandsch Indië 4: 301. Type locality: Bengkulu, Sumatra, Indonesia, eastern Indian Ocean.


Bray, D.J. 2022


Atlas of Living Australia

White-margined Moray, Enchelycore schismatorhynchus Bleeker 1853


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.

Bleeker, P. 1853. Diagnostische beschrijvingen van nieuwe of weinig bekende vischsoorten van Sumatra. Tiental V–X. Natuurwetenschappelijk Tijdschrift voor Nederlandsch Indië 4: 243-302. See ref at BHL

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.

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

Fricke, R. & McCosker, J.E. 2010. Enchelycore schismatorhynchus (errata version published in 2017). The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2010: e.T155091A115271324. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2010-4.RLTS.T155091A4699419.en. Accessed on 01 October 2022.

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

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. 1990. Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea. Bathurst : Crawford House Press 507 pp. figs. (in part, Great Barrier Reef - as Enchelynassa canina

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. (in part, Great Barrier Reef - as Enchelynassa canina)

Smith, D.G., Bogorodsky, S.V., Mal, A.O. & Alpermann, T.J. 2019. Review of the moray eels (Anguilliformes: Muraenidae) of the Red Sea, with description of a new species. Zootaxa 4704(1): 1-87. https://doi.org/10.11646/zootaxa.4704.1.1

Quick Facts

CAAB Code:37060082


Conservation:IUCN Least Concern

Depth:3-35 m

Habitat:Reef associated

Max Size:120 cm TL

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CAAB distribution map