Undulated Moray (species: Gymnothorax undulatus) in Lizard Island Field Guide (Lizard Island Field Guide)
Gymnothorax undulatus
Undulated Moray

©Alex Vail: Aquarium shot of a large Gymnothorax undulatus from Lizard Island.

©Alex Vail: Aquarium shot of an adult and a juvenile Gymnothorax undulatus from Lizard Island

©Alex Vail: Large and small individuals of Gymnothorax undulatus in the aquarium at Lizard Island Research Station.
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Actinopterygii
Order Anguilliformes
Family Muraenidae
Genus Gymnothorax
Species Gymnothorax undulatus
Status least concern



Distinguishing features

This is one of the larger moray species, growing to at least a metre. Colour pattern is distinctive: head is yellow/greenish, body and fins have large, close-set dark brown blotches that tend to form irregular vertical bars, and there are small dark spots in the much paler spaces between the blotches. There is no dark spot on the gill opening as in the Giant Moray, Gymnothorax javanicus.


  • Up to 150 cm (Length of specimen)

Depth range

  • Depth range data is not yet available.



©Atlas of Living Australia: Australian distribution

Local abundance

  • Lizard Island, Queensland, Australia: This species is abundant in the Lizard Island area but is not commonly seen because of its secretive habits.


Normally hidden within the reef during the day, apparently active nocturnally. Randall et al (1990) note that it is an aggressive species.

Web resources


References that assist with identification

  • Randall, J.E., G.R. Allen and R.C. Steene (1990). Fishes of the Great Barrier Reef and Coral Sea University of Hawaii Press, Honolulu, Hawaii.

Other references

  • Lassig, B.R. (1983). The effects of a cyclonic storm on coral reef assemblages, Environmental Biology of Fishes, 9(1): 55-63. LIRS catalog number 253.