Moray eel

The undulated moray (Gymnothorax undulatus) is a distinctive moray eel, taking its name from the pattern of light undulating lines that form a faint net-pattern along its long, sinuous body. An otherwise dark green to black-brown eel, the head is bright yellow in colour and a conspicuous yellow line runs along the top of the dorsal fin. A thin membrane covers all of the fins and runs around the body from the dorsal fin, round the tail fin to the anal fin. As a voracious predator, the undulated moray has large, elongated jaws, with the lower jaw being slightly hooked, and the mouth is armed with rows of long, thin, fang-like teeth. Like other moray eels, the undulated moray does not have scales, and so to protect itself from parasites and scrapes, it secretes a protective layer of mucus over the thick, muscular body.

Moray eel (5452)

The undulated moray is a nocturnal species that uses its keen sense of smell to actively and aggressively hunt for fish, octopus and crustaceans, consuming almost anything that will fit in its mouth. When prey is captured, it uses a specialised second set of jaws within the throat to grasp onto the prey and drag it back into the throat.

Moray eel (5584)

Not much is known about the biology of the undulated moray, but in other species of moray eel, the male begins courtship by displaying to a female, before entwining around the female’s body. Once pair formation is complete, the female spawns large numbers of heavily-yolked eggs, which are fertilised externally by the male. Small, ribbon-shaped larvae subsequently emerge from the eggs to drift passively in ocean currents as part of the zooplankton community, before growing large enough to establish a territory on a reef.


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By Matthew Farrugia | April, 2, 2012 | 0 comments

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