Woodward’s Moray Eel. Gymnothorax woodwardi.
OK, this is not the most pleasant FFT picture we have had but it is interesting.
One of our regular FFT readers (and the winner of the inagural FFT identifcation quiz) Phillip Clark from Focus Fisheries in WA sent the pictures in. Phillip is a member of a fishing club and another member found the specimen on the flats of the Swan River in Perth.
Apparently there was a bit of debate among other members of the club as to what exactly had been found. There was an even split between those who thought it was an eel and those who had no idea. Finding the fish in the Swan River threw a few off them of track.
While we are not encouraging all and sundry to send in their pictures of fish they have found, I thought this one was strange enough to send on to our fish ID experts in Hobart.
John Pogonoski who works in fish taxonomy at CSIRO came up with the answer – “It’s Woodward’s Moray Eel, Gymnothorax woodwardi – described by McCulloch in 1912 – a common species in south-western WA (from about Cape Leeuwin north to about Shark Bay, inshore to at least 250m). I saw plenty of preserved specimens in the Western Australian Museum last year, so must be reasonably common.”
There you have it.
The head of the eel which has had some of the flesh eaten away to expose the upper jaw. The picture below shows the anatomy of the eel’s jaw.