Also known by the common names Snowflake Moray, Clouded Moray, or Floral Moray, it is one of the most well known moray species, especially among marine aquarists.
Distribution and Habitat Edit
Echidna nebulosa is found in tropical waters in the Indo-Pacific, along the East coast of Africa, the Red Sea, up to Southern Japan, as well as throughout Micronesia. It is also found around the Hawaiin Islands and in the eastern Central Pacific.
This is a shallow water species, normally occuring in water less than 50m deep. It is common to find this moray among reefs and in rock pools close to the shore.
Physical Description Edit
The colour can vary between individuals, but this fish can easily be identified by its stunning patterning, which is mostly white and/or yellow, with dark blotches along the body which may resemble snowflake or floral patterns (hence the common names) with smaller dark spots between these markings. The end of the mouth (upper and lower jaw) is characteristically white. The eyes are yellow.
Although it is said to attain up to 1m in length, E. nebulosa is most commonly found with a length of between 50 and 70cm. Aquarium specimens rarely exceed 50cm.
Echidna nebulosa is a carnivore, primarily feeding on benthic crustaceans.
Captive Care Edit
Although Echidna nebulosa can grow to a large size (especially for an aquarium fish), the tank need not be of an excessive size, with a starting size of about 200 litres, but larger tanks are appreciated. The tank should be well furnished with rocks, live rock, pipes etc. in order to create crevices in which the eel can hide. Corals can also be used in the tank for much the same purpose, as well as to brighten up the tank, since morays will not damage the coral.
This species is well known as an escape artist, and a well-fitting hood or cover glass is essential for keeping this species for any period of time. Often they can be seen exploring the aquarium, sometimes cruising up to the surface and exploring the top edges of the tank. It isn't uncommon for E. nebulosa to take refuge inside an internal filter, which they find to be quite to their liking as hiding spots.
Snowflake morays are one of the more compatible moray species as far as marine setups go, since they very rarely bother fish, even of small sizes (although extremely small fish may likely be viewed as prey). Larger fish and other moray species can be mixed with this fish - however, invertebrates are likely to dissapear if kept in the same setup. Shrimps and crabs are among the first to go. Sessile inverts, such as clams, as well as corals and sponges, will be perfectly fine sharing a tank with E. nebulosa.