There are about 200 different species of moray eel – Muraenidae, as their family is known. This remarkably widespread marine animal can adapt extremely well to its environment, and its evolution is equally diverse: moray eels range between extremely small species measuring as little as 12 cm, to large, 3-meter eels that weigh in at more than 30 kg, such as the giant moray. This remarkable marine creature features a pattered body, seamlessly joined caudal and dorsal fins, and a highly developed sense of smell that they use to pinpoint their prey.
The Complex Anatomy of Moray Eels
In most types of moray eel, Muraenidae anatomy is extremely complex, as well as quite unique. While they are snake and reptile-like, all species of morays are actually fish, and feature a nimble, elongated body with dorsal, anal, and caudal fins, but don’t have any pectoral or pelvic fins. Small eyes and a large, powerful jaw are among the main characteristics of the species, their teeth also having developed in accordance to the eels’ main food preferences. A few species, for example, are used to feeding on crustaceans; their blunt, molar-like teeth being perfectly suitable to crush the hardest of shells.
The Secretive Moray Eel – Muraenidae Species and Their Hiding Techniques
Moray eels don’t like to show themselves too often, and when they do they either make an appearance just to ambush their prey, or are in the process of searching for a new hiding place. They use this hiding technique to either find prey more easily or hide from predators, having developed as an extremely prudent species. Like most large fish, the moray eel is carnivorous, and it actually survives on nothing but meat. Mollusks and fish are often on the menu for most varieties of eel, while some also feed on squid, cuttlefish, and crabs.
A Look at the Habitat Distribution of Moray Eels
Mostly seen in both shallow and deep waters, moray eels rarely venture to the shore. Instead, they prefer to make the dark crevices at the bottom of the sea their homes, and only occasionally do they travel to shallower waters. They can be found in both tropical and colder waters – albeit the latter far less often – and despite the fact that they spend most of their time in hiding, they can be spotted in just about any of the world’s oceans. In the case of any species of moray eel, Muraenidae species are found in large numbers in the vicinity of coral reef formations, particularly in tropical, subtropical, and temperate areas.