Gymnothorax polygonius

Common Name

Polygon Moray

Year Described

Poey, 1875


Body elongate yet robust with well developed dorsal and anal finfolds. Trunk a little shorter than tail. Head tapers anteriorly. Snout blunt. Jaw closes completely. Teeth smooth. A single row of strong teeth in the upper jaw. Roof of mouth with a single row of teeth. Lower jaw with a single row of strong 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 formula: 5-53-138.


Body brown with a pattern closely spaced polygon-shaped rosettes giving a overall look of close-set reticulations within a pattern of larger brown reticulations. Pattern continues onto dorsal fin with brown wedges at regular intervals and a thin pale margin. Eye yellow.


Maximum size to 84cm TL.


A deepwater species taken from 90-270m. Probably found around rocky hard bottom substrates.


Scattered records from North Carolina to Florida, off the Yucatan, Cuba, the Lesser Antilles, Brazil, and Trindade Island.


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

Closest in pattern to Muraena retifera, from which it can be separated by the shape of the rear nostril and lack of round white spots.