Field of Science

It's a Moray Friday

Okay, so I'm only doing this to beat Rick MacPherson. A recent publication in Zootaxa (Smith et al., 2008) has given us a new species of moray eel, Gymnothorax baranesi.

The new species has only been collected so far from a small area of the Gulf of Aqaba in the northern Red Sea, in moderately deep water. The picture above (from the paper) shows the male holotype, which is not quite mature but at ~86 cm long is quite big enough to not want to mess with. Full adults would probably be even larger. Gymnothorax baranesi* is distinguished from closely related species by details of the colour pattern and the arrangement of teeth.

*The authors don't suggest a vernacular name, but being a vertebrate someone's probably going to insist that it needs one. I suppose the main options are Baranes' Moray after the species name (named for Albert Baranes, a researcher on fishes of the Red Sea), or Aqaba Moray after the locality.

The discovery of this species highlights just how little we know about the world's biodiversity in another way, too. As the authors note in the paper, "The fact that the new species was collected in an area that has been well studied... for many years (and in fact, directly in front of a major marine laboratory) indicates how much we still have to learn..."


Smith, D. G., E. Brokovich & S. Einbinder. 2008. Gymnothorax baranesi, a new moray eel (Anguilliformes: Muraenidae) from the Red Sea. Zootaxa 1678: 63-68.


  1. doh!!! scooped!

    leave it to an australian to stab me in the back!!! must be your convict ancestry rising to the surface...

    good on you, anyway...

  2. Wow, that was quick!

    I do feel obliged, though, to point out to you that I'm a New Zealander, not an Australian. Trust a Canadian to get the two mixed up ;-P .

  3. And trust a Kiwi to think that anyone else cares about the difference.

    (And trust an American like me to poke my nose in.)

  4. New Zealand was never a penal colony - many of our settlers came from a higher socio-economic bracket.

    Also, the Australian settlers took their land from the natives by shooting them. In New Zealand, the settlers legally purchased their land from the natives, then shot them.

  5. Hi,
    Interesting post.
    I am not sure though that the correct name of Avi Baranes is indeed "Albert Baranes".

    Best regards,
    A. Bachar et. al

  6. Is Moray Eel already taken?

  7. I am not sure though that the correct name of Avi Baranes is indeed "Albert Baranes".

    According to the paper it is - "Named for Dr. Albert (Avi) Baranes of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem..."


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