Enchelycore nigricans

Common Name

Viper Moray

Year Described

Bonnaterre, 1788


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: a row of large fangs and a row of outer smaller fangs in upper jaw and two rows of fangs in lower jaw. A median row of depressible fangs on midline of roof of mouth. Anterior nostril is a small tube. Rear nostril an external opening above anterior margin of eye. Eye large. Throat region grooved. Gill opening a simple hole at level of dorsal origin. Fins confluent around tail.


Coloration varies with age. Adults range from uniformly dull brown in large adults to dark brown with pale mottling or reticulations. Head is often olive-brown. Grooves on throat darker brown. Head pores not contrasting white. Eye brown. Intermediate sized fish have more extensive whitish markings. Juveniles have large whitish rosettes over dark brown.


Maximum size to 100cm TL.


Inhabits coral and rocky reefs from 1-24m.


Southern Florida, the 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.

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.

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.