GIANT MORAY juvenile
Pat Richardson and her sister Jan Brimacombe spotted
this tiny eel in a tide pool at Honaunau, Hawai'i. Jan snapped this picture.
The eel was about 3 inches long. Although it somewhat resembles a juvenile
Undulated Moray (G. undulatus), that ID didn't seem right, especially
as Cory Pittman pointed out that juvenile undulatus do not have
spots on the head. I was mystified until Bruce Mundy, author of the Checklist
of Fishes of the Hawaiian Archipelago, identified it as a probable
juvenile Gymnothorax javanicus, based on a published photo by Dr.
John E. Randall of a preserved specimen from the Red Sea.* Though quite
rare in Hawaii, the Giant Moray does occur here. As far as I know, however,
no one has ever reported a juvenile from the Islands, much less photographed
one alive. Great sighting, Pat and Jan!!
* Randall, J.E. &
Golani, D, 1995.
Review of the Moray Eels (Anguilliformes: Muraenidae) of the Red Sea.
Bulletin of Marine
Science 56(3): 849-880.