Thai National Parks

Marine spacies of Thailand

Species of Thailand

Giant moray

Binomial name: Gymnothorax javanicus, Pieter Bleeker, 1859

The giant moray (Gymnothorax javanicus) is a species of moray eel is a species of marine fish in the family Muraenidae. In terms of body mass, it is the largest moray eel (the slender giant moray is longer).


As the name suggests, it is a large eel, reaching up to 3 m in length and 30 kg in weight. Its serpentine in shape body has a brownish background color. While juveniles are tan in color with large black spots, adults have black specks that grade into leopard-like spots behind the head and a black area surrounding the gill opening.

Distribution & habitat

The giant moray is widespread in the Indo-Pacific region, being found from eastern coast of Africa, Red Sea included, until the Pitcairn group, Hawaiian islands and also Polynesia. North to south Japan and south to New Caledonia, Fiji and the Austral Islands.

It lives in lagoons and on the outer slopes of coral reefs, the day it sits sheltered in crevices between 1 and 50 meters deep.


The giant moray is carnivorous, it leaves its lair at night to actively hunt its preys along the reef.

It mainly feeds on fish and occasionally on crustaceans. It has been known to engage in cooperative hunting with the roving coralgrouper (Plectropomus pessuliferus).


This species may be hazardous to people. Being at the top of the food chain, it is likely to cause ciguatera poisoning if eaten. It has been implicated in provoked and unprovoked attacks on scuba divers.

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Scientific classification

Gymnothorax javanicus

Range Map

Range map of Gymnothorax javanicus in Thailand