Nine Facts You Didn't Know About the Moray Eel | Sport Diver

Nine Facts You Didn't Know About the Moray Eel

There’s more to moray eels than meets the eye. Here are some fun facts you might not know about these slippery critters.

green moray eel facts

Green Moray

A green moray eel

Lazaro Ruda

• Green morays from the Caribbean are actually brown, but a yellow mucus covering makes them appear green.
• Morays rely on a highly developed sense of smell rather than sight to locate prey.
• To breathe, moray eels continually open and close their mouth to flush oxygen-rich water over their gills.

eel larvae

Transparent Larva

A transparent ribbon-like larvae, known as leptocephali

Daniel Zupnac

• Morays and other eels, along with closely allied tarpon and bonefish, produce pelagic, transparent ribbon-like larvae, known as leptocephali.
• Moray eels are really fish.
• Morays have a set of jaws in their throats that thrusts forward to pull captured prey back into their esophaguses.

spotted moray eel

Moray Eel

A spotted moray eel at a cleaning station.

Reinhard Dirscherl

• The moray eel, highly susceptible to parasitic infestations, spends much of its time at cleaning stations having the microscopic bloodsuckers picked from its body.
• Some morays tie themselves into a knot when attempting to swallow large prey.

spotted moray eel

Chain Moray

A moray eel on the hunt

Jürgen Freund

• As long as their skin remains damp, crab-hunting chain morays can stay out of the water for 30 minutes at a time.