Ribbon eel [Rhinomuraena]

ribbon eel

The ribbon eelRhinomuraena quaesita, or Bernis eel, is a species of moray eel, the only member of the genus Rhinomuraena. What is now known as Rhinomuraena quaesita also includes the former Rhinomuraena amboinensisR. quaesita was used for blue ribbon eels and R. amboinensis for black ribbon eels, but these are now recognized as the same species. The ribbon eel is native to the Indo-Pacific ocean.

The ribbon eel is an elegant creature with a long, thin body and high dorsal fins. The ribbon eel can easily be recognised by its expanded anterior nostrils. Juveniles and sub-adults are jet black with a yellow dorsal fin, while females are yellow with a black anal fin with white margins on the fins. The adult males are blue with a yellow dorsal fin. The ribbon eel grows to an overall length of approximately 1 m (3.3 ft), and has a life span of up to twenty years. The ribbon eel is the only moray eel that is protandric.

 Pictures: Great Barrier Reef, Australia by Sami Salmenkivi

Grey moray [Gymnothorax nubilus]

The grey moray, Gymnothorax nubilus, is a moray eel of the genus Gymnothorax, found around the at depths down to 50 m, in reef areas of broken rock. Their length is between 40 and 100 cm.

The grey moray is an elongate scaleless fish with a large mouth full of prominent backward facing teeth, hinged so that they can fold back but lock when prey tries to struggle free. The dorsal fin is high and fleshy with a blue tinge along the edge. Its body colour is pale grey with faint darker markings.

The grey moray lives in rocky reef areas around offshore islands, spending most of its time with its head emerging from its cave or crevice, mouth agape. The open-mouthed stance is not aggression – morays need to continuously draw water through their small gills. They are active mostly at night but move about during the day more than yellow morays, often being seen entwined in kelp fronds. Their diet is made up of crabs, sea urchins, and small fish such as blennies and scorpionfish.

Picture: Red Sea, Egypt by Sami Salmenkivi

Spotted moray [Gymnothorax moringa]

The spotted moray, Gymnothorax moringa, is a typical medium-sized moray eel. It has a long snake-like body, white or pale yellow in color with small overlapping dark-brown spots. It can grow to over a meter in length and weigh up to 2.5 kg.

The spotted moray is found in the Western Atlantic Ocean from North Carolina and Bermuda to Brazil, including the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean. It is also found around Mid- and Eastern Atlantic islands as far south as St Helena. It prefers shallow water (up to 200 m in depth) with a rocky or grassy bottom.

Spotted morays are solitary animals, and are usually seen in holes, with only the head protruding. They are active during the day, feeding at the sea bottom on crustaceans and other fish. Their bite can be dangerous to humans. There is a minor fishery for them, and they have even been kept as aquarium fish, though they grow too large for this to be practicable in most circumstances. (text source: wikipedia)

Picture: Cozumel, Mexico by Sami Salmenkivi

Giant moray [Gymnothorax javanicus]

The giant moray, Gymnothorax javanicus, is the largest of the Moray eels.The giant moray is widespread in the Indo-Pacific region, being found in the Red Sea and East Africa, the Pitcairn group, north to the Ryukyu and Hawaiian islands, south to New Caledonia and the Austral Islands.

As the name suggests, this is a large eel, reaching up to 300cm in length and 30kg in weight. While juveniles are tan in colour with large black spots, adults have black specks that grade into leopard-like spots behind the head and a black area surrounding the gill opening. Diet is primarily fish but also crustaceans. Found in lagoons and seaward reefs.

Picture: Andaman&Nicobar Islands, India by Sami Salmenkivi

Green moray [Gymnothorax funebris]

The green moray, Gymnothorax funebris, is a moray eel of the family Muraenidae, found in the western Atlantic from New Jersey, Bermuda, and the northern Gulf of Mexico to Brazil, at depths down to 40 m. Its length is up to 2.5 m.

The green moray is a very large moray, uniformly dark green to brown. It is a benthic and solitary species occurring along rocky shorelines, reefs, and mangroves, usually found shallower than 30 m. Due to its large size and aggressiveness, the bites of this moray are particularly dangerous. It feeds mainly at night on fish and crustaceans. It is marketed fresh and salted, although large individuals are cigua-toxic. (text source: wikipedia)

Picture: Roatan, Honduras by Sami Salmenkivi