Gymnothorax maderensis

Common Name

Sharktooth Moray

Year Described

Johnson, 1862


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 wide and serrated. A single row of large fangs on edge of upper jaw. There are sometimes a few median fangs. Small patch of teeth on roof of mouth. 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: 6-68-153.


Body brownish to greenish-brown with small white spots covering body and fins. Spots slightly larger rearward and on fins. Head often plain. Tail lacking large spots and not darkened. Dorsal and anal fins with continuous white margins. A faint blotch at gill opening. Eye dark with white ring around pupil. Large adults with pattern faint but present and fin margin blue-green.


Maximum size to 105cm TL.


A deepwater species: taken from 85-280m over soft bottoms with scattered rubble.


Scattered records but apparently fairly widespread: from North Carolina to Bahia State Brazil, including Bermuda, the Greater and Lesser Antilles, and Curacao. Appears to be absent from the continental Caribbean.


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.

Carvalho Filho, A., & M.I.G. Paiva. 2017. New records of marine eels (Teleostei: Anguilliformes) from Brazilian waters. Check List, 13(2), 2092.

Williams, J.T., Carpenter, K.E., Van Tassell, J.L., Hoetjes, P., Toller, W., Etnoyer, P., & M. Smith. 2010. Biodiversity assessment of the fishes of Saba Bank atoll, Netherlands Antilles. Plos One, 5(5), e10676.

Other Notes

Similar in appearance to the other small-spotted morays Gymnothorax conspersus and G. kolpos, but differs in lower vertebral counts, lacking a dark tail, and having a white margin on the dorsal fin. Large greenish individuals resemble G. funebris but that species never has spots at any size.