MURAENIDAE
moray eels

  Enchelycore anatina
(Lowe, 1839)*

Relevant synonyms
Lycodontis anatina

Misidentification
None

* Note: the year of the description of this species is often erroneously given as 1837. For further explanation, see Ben-Tuvia and Golani (1984).

 photo : Avraham Niv    

SHORT DESCRIPTION
Body very elongated. Dorsal fin originating above branchial opening, very long, together with anal fin confluent with caudal fin. Pectoral and pelvic fin absent. Head pointed with a distinctly elevated occipital region. Anterior nostril tubular. Posterior nostril round to oval opening in front of eye. Large mouth, its cleft extending back well behind eye. Jaw arched, with many fang-like teeth, which are visible even when mouth is closed. No scales on body.

color : body dark brown with numerous yellow blotches and dots arranged in longitudinal rows. Snout and cheeks light brown with yellow dots.

size : common 50 - 100 cm (max. 120 cm).

DISTINGUISHING CHARACTERISTICS

  • Gymnothorax unicolor: jaws not arched; body uniformly colored.
  • Muraena helena: jaws not arched; both posterior and anterior nostrils have tubes.
    Congridae, Muraenecosidae and Ophichthidae (in part): pectoral fin present.

    BIOLOGY / ECOLOGY
    Feeds on fishes and large invertebrates. Eggs and larvae apparently pelagic.

    habitat : rocky.


  • 1st MEDITERRANEAN RECORD
    Israel, 1984.


    DISTRIBUTION
    Worldwide : Eastern Atlantic. Mainly insular species from the Azores to St. Helena Island. Mediterranean : recorded first from Israel (Ben-Tuvia and Golani, 1984); later, off Elafonissos Island, Greece (R. Fricke pers. comm.); more recently from Turkey (Yokes et al., 2002).

    ESTABLISHMENT SUCCESS
    Very rare, only three specimens found in the Mediterranean.

    speculated reasons for success :
    the long pelagic larval stage may enable the crossing of long distances.


    MODE OF INTRODUCTION
    Via Gibraltar.


    IMPORTANCE TO HUMANS
    None.


    KEY REFERENCES

    • Ben-Tuvia A. and Golani D., 1984. A West African fangtooth moray eel Enchelycore anatina from the Mediterranean coast of Israel. Copeia, 541-544.
    • Yokes B., Dervisoglu R. and Karacilk B., 2002. An investigation of the marine biological diversity along Likya shores. Sualti Bilim ve Teknoloji Toplantisi Bildiriler Kitabi Istanbul. 2000: 166-181. (in Turkish).

    FEEDBACK / COMMENTS TO AUTHORS



    Last update of the species sheet:
    June 2004

    ©ciesm 2002