Enchelycore anatina

Common Name

Fangtooth Moray

Year Described

Lowe, 1838


Body elongate and robust with well developed dorsal and anal finfolds. Trunk a little shorter than tail. Head tapers anteriorly to slender, hooked upper and lower jaws. Teeth obvious and visible in mouth. Multiple rows of fangs: 2 rows of large fangs and a row of outer smaller fangs in upper jaw and two rows of fangs in lower jaw. Anterior nostril is a small tube. Rear nostril external above lip adjacent to eye. Eye large. Throat region grooved. Gill opening a simple hole at level of dorsal origin. Fins confluent around tail.


Body dark chestnut to dark brown with medium to large pale yellowish rosettes in 2-3 irregular rows. There are smaller spots interspaced in between the large rosettes. Dorsal and anal fin same as body color with a row of pale yellow rosettes and a thin pale margin. The dark base color becomes broken up into dark reticulations on the anterior end of the body and the throat is dominated by pale yellow color with thin dark reticulations. The body becomes abruptly ochre behind eye and the head is covered in fairly small yellow spots surrounded by brownish reticulations. Eye ochre to yellow. Inside of mouth yellowish sprinkled with brown. Young specimens have similar pattern but a very orange base color all over.


Maximum size to 120cm TL.


Inhabits deep reefs and rocky areas from 10-370m.


Scattered records in the W. Atlantic: known from Bermuda, the southeastern U.S., and Brazil (St. Paul's Rocks). More common in the eastern Atlantic.


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.

Feitoza, B.M., Rocha, L.A., Luiz-Júnior, O.J., Floeter, S.R., & J.L. Gasparini. 2003. Reef fishes of St. Paul’s Rocks: new records and notes on biology and zoogeography. aqua, 7(2), 61-82.

Zokan, M.A. 2008. The life history of morays (Anguilliformes: Muraenidae) off the southeastern Atlantic coast of the United States. College of Charleston. (Unpublished dissertation).

Other Notes

This large and distinctive species is rarely reported due to deep habitat but likely more widespread in deep waters.