Family: MURAENIDAE (Moray eels)
The moray's body is compressed, very elongated, and muscular. The large mouth has caniniform fanglike teeth. The posterior nostrils lack tubes, and the snout is usually sharply pointed. Moray eels lack pectoral fins, but the dorsal and anal fin are well developed, though largely hidden by tissue. Its color is variable: green, greenish brown, or brown and occasionally with small white spots. They grow to over 1.2 m (4 feet) in length.
Range and Habitat
The moray's range extends from the Gulf of California to Malpelo island in Colombia. They hide under boulders, and are found poking their heads out of crevices and holes during the day. They forage at night and may be seen any place on the reef or over sand or mud bottoms.
Moray eels usually feed at night, they rely on a very well-developed sense of smell, rather than vision, to catch their prey. Normal prey includes fishes and a variety of invertebrates such as crabs, shrimps and octopuses. Sometimes when they hunt during the day, opportunistic fish such as small cabrillas follow them and feed on their scraps.
Text by Patricia Beller
Photograph from Ocean Oasis © 2000 CinemaCorp of the Californias
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