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Moray eels are cosmopolitan eels of the family Muraenidae. The approximately 200 species in 15 genera are almost exclusively marine, but several species are regularly seen in brackish water and a few, for example the freshwater moray (Gymnothorax polyuranodon) can sometimes be found in freshwater.
With a maximum length of 11.5 centimetres (4.5 in), the smallest moray is likely the Snyder's moray (Anarchias leucurus), while the longest species, the slender giant moray (Strophidon sathete) reaches up to 4 m (13 ft). The largest in terms of total mass is the giant moray (Gymnothorax javanicus), which reaches 3 m (9.8 ft) in length and 30 kg (66 lb) in weight.
The White-margined Moray is usually found in lagoons and on the foreslope of reefs in the crevices of coralline and volcanic rocks. This species is a nocturnal feeder (R. Fricke pers. comm. 2008). This species is found in the photic zone from the surface to a depth of around 20 m.
Moray eels are cosmopolitan, found in both tropical and temperate seas, although the largest species richness is at reefs in warm oceans. Very few species occur outside the tropics or subtropics, and the ones that do only extend marginally beyond these regions. They live at depths of up to several hundred metres, where they spend most of their time concealed inside crevices and alcoves.
The White-margined Moray, Enchelycore schismatorhynchus, has been assessed as Least Concern due to its large distribution across the Indo-pacific. This species is likely to be undergoing localised declines in areas of intense coastal development and pollution, however this species is known from both rocky and coral reefs so is unlikely to be impacted significantly by threats specific to a single habitat type.
The primary threat to Morays is us. Some larger morays are prized by people as food, however as Moray Eels are very high up the food chain, they often accumulate the poisonous ciguatoxin, making them potentially dangerous to eat.
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