Eels, especially Moray Eels, are among some of the most fascinating creatures in the ocean. They are fish….fish without pectoral or pelvic fins. The anal and dorsal fin are connected and form a ribbon on top of their bodies. They can be quite small, just a few ounces, and they can grow to be 10 ft and 50 pounds! I love photographing them. Their mouths are always opening and closing, and not because they are thinking about biting you, but because they need to breathe. They do not attack humans, unless there is some stupid human who wants to grab at them or, even dumber, try to feed them. If you want to feed something in the ocean, settle for feeding bread to the fish. They are wild animals, after all. I often get 12 inches from them, or less, to take photos, abut I have never had any problem with aggression at all. The Moray is likely to just stare at you….breathing. Notice the flaps at the back of the mouth, those are the gills.
The very coolest thing about Morays (of which there are more than 200 species!)? Their jaw. Jaws, I should say. They have two. You might be scared of the first one, but their prey should be more frightened of the second one, the Pharyngeal jaw which is farther down in their throat. That jaw is the one that delivers the death blow to its prey!
This Fimbriated Moray is surrounded by RedBanded Shrimp and Dancing Durban Shrimps on top! Time for a cleaning in Thailand.
Oh, now I am just dying to get in the water! I have so many more eels to photograph out there in all of our oceans! So far, I have Cozumel, Isla Mujeres, and the Revillagadoes Islands planned for dives this year. I wonder if I can squeeze any more dive trips in? You know I will try!