Moray eels (Reproduction, predation and conservation) – Video

This video was taken in Monterey Bay Aquarium, USA during June, 2012

Reproduction and life cycle: Moray eels show hermaproditism phenomenon where some of the morays they start males before turning into females (sequential) while others are synchronous (having both functional testes and ovaries at the same time) and can mate with either sex. The mating is triggered by the rising of water temperature whereas eggs are laid and fertilized by the sperm. Fertilized eggs hatch into leptocephalus larvae that float for about 8 months in the open ocean. Then after, they swim down as elvers to begin life on the reef and eventually become a moray eel.

Mucus secretion: Moray eels secrete protective mucus over their smooth, scaleless skin in greater quantities compared to other eels. This allows eels to swim faster around the reef without fear of abrasion. Also sand-dwelling morays can make their burrow stronger and permanent, as sand granules adhere with the mucus and attach to the sides of the burrows.

Gaping: Due to the small size of the gills, morays have to continuously open and close their mouths in a gaping fashion to maintain a flow of water and facilitate respiration.

Moray eel’s predators: The difficulty in the predation on morays is related to their nature of living in tight spaces whether in burrows or crevices in the ocean’s coral reefs. Their predators include large groupers, barracudas and sea snakes.

Conservation status: There is no much concern in regard to the conservation of moral eels. This is due –in part- to their possible ciguatera toxicity to consumers. Toxins from dinoflagellates may accumulate in the moray’s tissue through the food chain. This fact was apparently the cause of death for King Henry I of England.

References: Wikipedia, Dive the World, Natural Geographic News

Permanent link to this article: