Gymnothorax kolpos

Common Name

Blacktail Moray

Year Described

Böhlke & Böhlke, 1980


Body elongate with a tapering caudal region and well developed dorsal and anal finfolds. Trunk a little shorter to slightly longer than tail. Rear of head thickens behind eye. Snout blunt. Jaw closes completely. Teeth serrated. Two rows of large fangs on edge of upper jaw. No median fangs. Lower jaw with a single row of teeth. 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. Vertebral (pre-dorsal, pre-anal, total) formula: 6-63-164. Three pores on upper jaw.


Body pale greenish-brown to medium brown with numerous tiny white spots all over body and fins. These spots become larger rearward until they become a single row of large spots on the tail. The dorsal fin has slightly larger spots than continue almost the the margin, which is dark. The dark margin is not interrupted by saddles.


Maximum size to 100cm TL.


Found on soft bottoms from 40-230m.


North Carolina to Florida and the Gulf of Mexico to the Bay of Campeche. Not known in the Caribbean.


Böhlke, J.E., & E.B. Böhlke. 1980. The Identity of the Moray Gymnothorax conspersus Poey, and Description of G. kolpos, n. sp., from the Western Atlantic Ocean. Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, 218-227.

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.

Other Notes

The related Gymnothorax conspersus is allopatric in range and differs in having white saddles on the dorsal margin and higher vertebral counts. The body spots are much smaller than the paler tailed G. ocellatus-nigromarginatus-saxicola complex.