Echidna catenata

Common Name

Chain Moray

Year Described

Bloch, 1795


Body elongate but stout with well developed dorsal and anal finfolds. Trunk about equal to tail length. Head widens abruptly beyond eye. Snout short and blunt. Jaws close completely. Teeth molar-like in multiple rows on both jaws, vomer, and dentary. Anterior nostril is a small tube. Rear nostril an external, slightly raised opening above anterior margin of eye. Eye large. Throat region grooved. Gill opening a simple hole. Dorsal origin well anterior to gill opening. Fins confluent around tail.


Body dark brown to black with yellow chain-like reticulations. Dark pattern breaks up more into spots as the fish gets older. Yellow chain markings continue onto fins. Inside of mouth grayish with dark spots. Eye yellowish with dark speckles.


Maximum size to 70cm TL.


Found around shallow coral and rocky reefs and lagoons from 0-20m. Often found in the intertidal zone hunting crabs.


Southern Florida, the SE Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean Sea, to southern Brazil (including oceanic islands). Also Bermuda.


Böhlke, E.B. 2002. Muraenidae (pp 700-718). In: Carpenter. 2002. The living marine resources of the Western Central Atlantic. Vol. 32: Bony fishes part 1 (Acipenseridae to Grammatidae). FAO Species Identification Guides for Fisheries Purposes. American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists Special Publication No. 5.

Gasparini, J.L., & S.R. Floeter, S.R. 2001. The shore fishes of Trindade Island, western south Atlantic. Journal of Natural History, 35(11), 1639-1656.

Other Notes

The molariform teeth are unique to this species in the region.