Fish ID: The Moray eel
by Cindy
in Blog
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everything you always wanted to know about "moray"

- Morays have two sets of jaws like the monster in Alien
- The long fin on their backs is in fact composed by three smaller ones
- The green moray is actually brown, it looks green because it is secreting a mucus which destroys red blood cells and changes its appearance
- Morays are nocturnal
- They often can be spotted mouth open, because this is how they breathe (passing water through their mouths past their gills)

Where to find them?

You can find morays worldwide, in freshwater and in saltwater, but the majority is strictly marine. They live in both tropical and temperate water, but the biggest variety of species are located in warm water. 

You can find them in shallow water, but they live until about 100m depth. Most of the time, they are hidden inside rocks and cracks. 

How long do they live?

In the wild there are some specimens that have been spotted through a timeframe of 30 years. Anyway, on average they live between 10 to 30 years old.

What size are they?

On average, morays reach up about 1,50m long, but they can grow up to 4m for the giant specie.

How many species?

Until today, we discovered about 200 different species

How do they reproduce?

Morays are oviparous. The female moray eels can release until 10,000 eggs at a time. These eggs need to be fertilized by the sperm of male eels to become part of the plankton as larvae.
They will be fighting to survive in the open ocean, and after about a year, the moray eel larvae are big enough to swim down to the ocean floor and hide in rocks and cracks.

How & what do they eat?

They are carnivorous predators. They eat mainly smaller fishes, molluscs, crabs, urchins and octopuses.

Morays catch preys by slithering out their reefs by night, it also catches preys that are passing in front.

How do they move?

The moray due to its physiology is not very well fit for swimming and uses the length of its body to move with an undulation helped by her dorsal and bottom fins.

Who are their predators?

Groupers, barracudas and sea snakes. As it has only a few known predators, the moray is an apex predator in its ecosystem.

What people usually ignore?

Unfortunately, the moray is seen as a scary and dangerous fish, but in reality they are really shy and fearful.
Like all others in the marine life, they help preserve the balance in their ecosystem.

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