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Moray eel.

Moray eel.
Photo Information
Copyright: Sylwia bonee (bonee) (44)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2007-05-25
Categories: Fish
Exposure: f/4, 1/60 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): Underwater Wonder World 1 [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2007-06-02 16:28
Viewed: 5110
Points: 0
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Moray eels are large cosmopolitan eels of the family Muraenidae. There are approximately 200 species in 15 genera. The typical length for a moray is 1.5m (5 feet), with the largest being the slender giant moray, Strophidon sathete, at up to 4 m (13 feet).

Reticulate moray,
Muraena retiferaMoray eels frequent tropical and subtropical coral reefs to depths of 200 m, where they spend most of their time concealed inside crevices and alcoves. They secrete a protective mucus over their scaleless skin which contains a toxin in some species. Their small circular gills, located on the flanks far posterior to the mouth, require the moray eel to maintain a gape in order to facilitate respiration.

The dorsal fin of the moray extends from just behind the head, along the back and joins seamlessly with the caudal and anal fin. Most species lack pectoral and pelvic fins, adding to their snake-like appearance. Their eyes are rather small; morays rely on their highly developed sense of smell, lying in wait to ambush prey.

The body of the Moray Eel is patterned, camouflage also being present inside the mouth. Their jaws are wide, with a snout that protrudes forward. They possess large teeth, designed to tear flesh as opposed to holding or chewing. They are capable of inflicting serious wounds to humans.

Morays are carnivorous and feed primarily on other fish, cephalopods, mollusks, and crustaceans. Groupers, other moray eels, and barracudas are among their few predators. There is a commercial fishery for several species, but some have been known to cause ciguatera fish poisoning. Morays hide in crevices in the reefs, and wait until their prey is close enough for capture. They then jump out and clamp the prey in their strong jaws.

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