Group 11: Eels
Group 11 - Eels : Though looking like snakes, eels are fish. There are several different types of eels, and we will look at two – garden eels that live in burrows in the sand and moray eels. Moray eels have a bad reputation mainly due to the constant opening and closing of their sharp toothed mouths. However, this is not a threat to divers, as this action pumps water through their gills. Most eels are actually very shy.
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5 Fun Facts - Eels
Moray eels, scientifically known as Muraenidae, comprise a globally distributed family of eels. This family encompasses around 200 species distributed across 15 genera. While predominantly marine, some species exhibit a preference for brackish water, and a select few inhabit freshwater environments.
Moray eels display opportunistic and carnivorous behavior, preying primarily on smaller fish, crabs, and octopuses. Notably, there have been observations of a spotted moray eel consuming a red lionfish without sustaining any harm. Their limited array of predators includes groupers, barracudas, and sea snakes, establishing many morays, especially the larger species, as apex predators within their respective ecosystems.
Toothy Grin: Moray eels are renowned for their fearsome appearance, with sharp teeth and a perpetual open-mouthed expression. Contrary to popular belief, they are not baring their teeth in aggression but rather constantly breathing, as morays use their mouths to pump water over their gills.
Master of the Night: Many moray eels are nocturnal, preferring to hunt and explore their surroundings under the cover of darkness. Their keen sense of smell and exceptional ability to detect electrical fields help them locate prey, making them skilled nighttime predators.
Colorful Characters: Moray eels exhibit a stunning array of colors and patterns, from the mottled patterns of the tessellated moray to the vibrant yellow of the yellow-edged moray. These unique markings serve as both camouflage and a means of species identification.
Long-Lived Legends: Some moray eels have impressive lifespans, with certain species capable of living up to 30 years or more. This longevity allows them to play important roles in maintaining the balance of their respective ecosystems.
Curious Mythology: In various cultures, moray eels have found their way into folklore and mythology. Some stories depict them as protectors of the sea, while others associate them with mystical powers. Their mysterious appearance and behavior continue to inspire tales and legends around the world.