The not so “Green” Moray Eel…


Photo Credit: Caitlin Kinnett

It was almost like a dream, finding this eel.  Where most often Morays are found hidden in crevices they call their home, I found this one wide out in the open, almost as if he were “frolicking through the fields”.  On top of that, he seemed to have found a friend.  A grouper, almost the size of me, had the most peculiar attachment with this eel.  While this group of scuba divers seemed to be no threat, the eel and the grouper danced together, spinning around each other as if they were on stage in Broadway.  It was a moment  I will never forget, the eel and the grouper, best friends forever.

Photo Credit: Caitlin Kinnett

The Green Moray Eel was one of the most peculiar creatures I have seen.  Bizarrely enough, the “green” Moray is actually brown!  It is the tint of the yellow mucus cover, and the dark background of its’ home, that gives off a bright green looking color.  This long slender eel is built perfectly for the water, as the muscular body is laterally compressed.  The thin connected fins from the  dorsal to anal fins aid in directing the eel, while the caudal (tail) fin allows even more control as it undulates through the water.

As this sea serpent looking eel looks threatening by displaying its large sharp teeth when opening and closing its mouth, in reality, the eel is simply taking in water to breathe.  This water passes through the mouth, over the gills, and exits through vent-like tubes located in the back of the head.

Photo Credit: Caitlin Kinnett

Being “sit and wait” predators, these eels hide out in their coral homes using their tube like nostrils to sense out their oblivious prey.  They feed mostly on crabs, octopus, squid, and fish that pass by.  There is a large range of size in diet, as these eels can reach up to 8 feet in length, weighing up to 65 lbs.  Though this particular eel was found in the reefs of Cozumel waters, Green Morays can be found in the Western Atlantic, the northern Gulf of Mexico, and southern parts of Brazil waters.

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