Moray eel Facts

Moray eel Facts
Moray eel is the largest type of eel. There are 200 different species of moray eel found in fresh, marine and brackish waters. Moray eels prefer warmer water and they can be often found in the shallow water and near the coral reefs. Although moray eels are commercially fished, they are not endangered.
Interesting Moray eel Facts:
Size of the Moray eel depends on the species. It ranges in length from 6 inches to 15 feet. Average weight of the moray eels is 30 pounds.
Moray eel has a long and slender body which resembles to snake, but they do not belong to the group of reptiles - they are true fish.
Color of the moray eel varies from black to yellowish brown. Underside of their body is pale.
Moray eel has a long dorsal fin which runs from the head to the tail. Most moray eels lack pectoral and pelvic fins.
Moray eel spends most of its time hidden in the caves and rock crevices on the bottom of the sea. It attacks like an ambush predator that is waiting for the perfect prey to appear.
Moray eel is a carnivore (eat meat) who like to eat fish, octopuses, squid, cuttlefish, crabs, mollusks…
Moray eel uses specific technique while hunting other animals. They grab a prey using the element of surprise and wrap its body around it until it becomes flattened enough to be swallowed. Other option is to tear apart the victim and eat it one bite after another.
Unlike other eels, moray eel has two sets of sharp teeth. First set is located in the jaw and other in the throat. Teeth located in the throat are used for breaking up of the food and for facilitated digestion.
Teeth are pointed backwards, preventing the slippery prey to escape.
Moray eels produce slippery substance, acting as protective mucus, which covers their body. Mucus of some species contains toxins.
Although moray eel is one of the top predators in the water, it is often hunted by other large sea creatures such as sharks and barracudas.
Moray eel has large eyes, but does not see well. It has a good sense of smell, which helps it locate the prey.
Like all other fish, moray eel breathe using the gills. They are located behind the head, in the form of the two circular openings. Moray eel keeps its mouth open (not because they are ready to bite any second, but) because it needs to provide constant circulation of the water toward the gills.
Mating season happens every time water temperature and food sources reach the optimal level. Male and female wrap their bodies together for couple of hours. During this time, female can release up to 10 000 of eggs that will be fertilized by the male's sperm. Fertilized eggs will develop into larva which swims as a part of the plankton (up to year) until it becomes large enough to come back to the bottom of the sea, where it will start its life as a fully formed moray eel.
Great percent of moray eel in the larval phase ends up in the stomach of the large predators. Those that survive can live between 10 and 30 years.

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