California Moray Eel, Gymnothorax mordax: The California Moray Eel has a heavy thick body and an overall yellowish appearance (which quickly fades upon death) that is covered with dark brown mottling.
There is a prominent black blotch covering the gill openings and a yellow-green margin at the end of the anal and dorsal fins. The anal fin originates just before mid-length, the dorsal fin originates just before the gill openings, and the tail is 47 percent of the body length. It has two rows of teeth on the top jaw of which the outer row is smaller. The teeth are pointed, conical and not serrated.
This fish species is found in the first 120 feet of the water column within rocky reefs. It reaches a maximum length of 5 feet.
It is most likely confused with the Yellow Margin Moray, Gymnothorax flavimarginatus, found only on the extreme tip of Baja California (yellow margin on the tail; outer row of teeth on the top jaw are larger and serrated).
In Mexican fishing waters the California Moray Eel is limited in distribution to the west coast of Baja California from the California border and, until this collection, to Magdalena Bay.
The anal and dorsal fins are continuous with the caudal fin. Members of the Gymnothorax Genus have anal and dorsal fins that are covered with skin, a dorsal fin that originates before the anus, no pectoral fins, a straight lower jaw and gill openings the same coloration as the body.There are 100 species known globally of which six reside in Mexican waters. They are night feeders dining on small fishes and invertebrates including crabs, octopuses and shrimp.
The California Moray Eel is a member of the Muraenidae Family which in Mexico are known as Morenas.