Moray eel

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Moray eel
Reticulated moray (Gymnothorax polygonius)
Reticulated moray (Gymnothorax polygonius)
Scientific classification
Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Actinopterygii
Order:Anguilliformes
Family:Muraenidae
'Genera'

See text

Moray eels are large cosmopolitan eels of the family Muraenidae. There are approximately 200 species in 15 genera, the largest being the slender giant moray (Strophidon sathete) at up to 4 m (13 feet) in length. Most morays measure in at 1.5 m (5 feet) in length.

Moray eels frequent tropical and subtropical coral reefs to depths of 200 m, where they spend most of their time crammed inside crevices and alcoves. They secrete a protective mucus over their scaleless skin which contains a toxin in some species. Their small circular gills, located on the flanks far posterior to the mouth, require the moray eel to maintain a gape in order to facilitate respiration.

The dorsal fin extends from just behind the head, along the back and joins seamlessly with the caudal and anal fin. Most species lack pectoral and pelvic fins, adding to their snake-like appearance. Their eyes are rather small; morays rely on their highly developed sense of smell, lying in wait to ambush their prey.

Their bodies are patterned cryptically, the camouflage also being present inside the mouth. Their wide jaws are armed with sizable sharp teeth efficient at tearing flesh, making moray eels a subject best enjoyed from afar.

Morays are carnivorous and feed primarily on other fish, cephalopods and crustaceans. Groupers and other moray eels are among their few predators. There is a commercial fishery for several species, but some have been known to cause ciguatera fish poisoning.

Family Muraenidae

The following is an incomplete breakdown of the family. Please add to it as required.

Missing image
California_Moray.jpg
California Moray (Gymnothorax mordax)

External link

lt:Mureninės pt:Moreia

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