Morays, bony fish with an anguilliform body, are known for their “scary mouth”. However with their grace, and their dresses with various and colorful prints, they do not lack beauty!
Moray, its physical characteristics
According to its species, it can measure from 25 cm to 4 meters for the long-tail moray. But most of them measure on average 1.50 meters. This fish has neither a pectoral fin nor a ventral fin, but it has a dorsal fin extending over the entire back. They have an excellent sense of smell due to big nostrils. Its wide mouth, split to the back of the eye, can open up to 90 degrees! The moray is provided, at the bottom of the throat, with a formidable second jaw which inexorably draws its prey towards the digestive tract. The body is not covered with scales but mucus that protects it, and allows it to move easily into narrow places. To better camouflage, the moray is using various range of colors, peas, stars and stripes. Among the most beautiful species you can find: the ribbon eel, that changes color three times during is lifetime. The dragon moray, with the muzzle decorated with small horns full of colors. The honeycomb moray, with the cream livery dotted with Black spots.
Moray, a discreet animal
Because of her appearance, morays are considered a very aggressive animal. On the contrary, it is a shy and discreet animal, which attacks human only when he feels itself in danger. It is easily accessible by divers. But it is not advisable to touch them because their bites, because of the bacteria and germs that cover the teeth, become infected.
During day times, she lives hidden in the depths of a hole, in the crevices of the rocks, and at night she hunts. Stuck in her hiding place, she waits for a prey to pass. She then plants her teeth in the flesh of the prey, then drags her into her den to devour her quietly. It feeds primarily on crustaceans, small fish, and squid but occasionally consumes carrion and waste.
To have a clean dentition, the moray uses the services ofcleaner shrimps and fish that enter into his mouth, and clean it by devouring parasites and waste therein.
At birth all morays are male, then in adulthood they become females. During these transformations, they change color. This is how the ribbon moray is black at birth, electric blue when it reaches the height of 65 cm, and finally bright yellow when it becomes female. Some, like the giant moray, can travel 6500 km to mate. During this journey, they use their reserves of fat to feed themselves. The breeding cycle takes place from July to August, and the females then lay about a thousand eggs which give rise to leptocephalus, transparent and flat larvae that will float among the plankton for a year..