Moray Eel

Moray Eel

Moray eels are like the snakes of the sea. They are long and wavy, with their tail swishing back and forth. But despite their looks, eels are still just fish. They can be aggressive if anyone comes too close for their comfort. But overall morays are nice to watch if they are around.

Eels are nocturnal, so most times you’ll see them resting in a hole. Moray eels are carnivores meaning they mostly eat fish, mollusks (squid and cuttlefish), and crabs. Moray eels hide in caves and small holes so that they can ambush their prey.

Unlike other fish, the moray eel does not have fins on the sides of its body, so it looks more like a snake than a fish as it wiggles through the water. The fin on top of the eel starts just behind its head and runs all the way down its narrow body to join the fin at its tail.

If the eel’s snake-like body is not enough to scare you, its vicious-looking mouth certainly will do the trick! The moray eel has two sets of jaws. The first set has big, sharp teeth that it uses to grab the prey. The second pair of jaws is in the eel’s throat. This set is used to pull its prey in and swallow it.

There are 38 species of moray eel that live in the Red Sea. So far I’ve only seen 3.

Geometric moray eel

Geometric moray eel. It is white with black specks along it’s body. The geometric moray eel is 65 cm in length, about a meter.

Yellow edged moray eel

But a much longer moray is called the yellow edged moray eel, reaching lengths from 80 to (rarely) 240 cm. The cool thing about them is that they look like they have golden flakes on them.

Giant moray eel

Finally one of the most common Red Sea morays, the giant moray eel, which live up to its name. They are huge for their size and will usually be waiting in small holes waiting for someone to approach them, a snack!

Fun Facts

  • Moray eels have a second set of jaws.
  • There are more than 200 known species of moray eels.
  • The species called ‘green moray eel’ is really brown, but it appears green because of algae.
  • As the name suggests, the giant moray is a large eel, reaching up to 3 m (9.8 ft) in length and 30 kg (66 lb) in weight, while others come close.

Sabrina Kos
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