Moray is one of the most interesting and controversial fish

Moray — a large snake-like fish known for its toxicity and aggressive nature. In fact, many facts about Moray eels are greatly exaggerated. Almost 200 species of Moray eels are United in the family marinovich. These fish are the closest relatives of the other serpentine fish — eels.

Chernetchina Moray eel (Gymnothorax fimbriatus).
All kinds of Moray eels have large sizes: the smallest reach a length of 60 cm and weigh 8-10 kg, and the world’s largest giant Moray eel (Thyrsoidea macrura) reaches a length of 3.75 m and weighs up to 40 kg! The body of the eels disproportionately long, slightly flattened laterally, but not quite flat. The back of the body looks thinner, and the middle and anterior portion of trunk slightly thickened, the Moray eel resembles a giant leech. The pectoral fins of these fish are absent, but dorsal fin extends along the entire length of the body. However, you can see the Moray eel in all its glory can be very few, in most cases, her body hidden in the crevices of the rocks, and only the head sticking out.

Mediterranean Moray (Muraena helena) are reminiscent of the giant leeches.
It was she, more than any other part of the body, makes the Moray eel resembles a snake. The muzzle is elongated Moray with an evil look in her eyes, her mouth almost always open, and in it one could see large sharp teeth. This unflattering portrait was the reason to blame the Moray in the serpent’s deceit and aggression. In fact, the expression of the eyes in Moray is not so much evil, how many frozen, because these fish zasadniczy spending much time in waiting for prey. The view that Moray could not close his mouth because of too much teeth, too, are untenable. Actually Moray eels often sit with an open mouth, because breathing through it, because in close cover of the water inflow to the gills difficult. Because of this the oral cavity of eels painted, so mouthing behavior is not visible on the background of colorful reef. Teeth Moray eels a bit (23-28), they sit in one row and bent slightly back, in species specializing in fishing for crustaceans, the teeth less sharp, this allows the Moray to crush the shells of crabs.

Another unusual feature of Moray eels is the lack of language and two pairs of nostrils. Like all fish, morays don’t use nostrils for breathing, but only for the sense of smell. Nostrils Moray eels are elongated in a short tube. Their body is covered with a thick smooth skin without scales. The coloration of these fish are colorful, often with makocraft pattern (less striped, plain), but the color is usually dull — brown, black, whitish-gray. However, there are exceptions. So, tape rhinomuraena at a young age (length 65 cm) black, as adults it becomes a bright blue male (in this case its length is 65-70 cm), and then adult males turn into females yellow (with length over 70 cm).

Young tape rhinomuraena (Rhinomuraena quaesita).
Moray — the sea residents. They are found only in warm salt waters. The highest species diversity was reached Moray eels in the Red sea and the Indian ocean, they occur also in the Mediterranean sea, the Atlantic and parts of the Pacific oceans. These fish are found mainly at shallow depths in coral reefs and on the rocky shoal, the maximum habitat depth up to 40 m, some of which at low tide crawling on land. This Moray is very similar to their relatives of acne. Moray kept most of his life in shelters: crevices of rocks, the inner cavities of large sponges, amongst the corals. These fish are active mainly at dusk, so I see bad, but they compensate for this lack of an excellent sense of smell. With a sealed nasal openings Moray is not able to detect prey.

Males ribbon rhinomuraena. In this species, instead of the usual eels nasal tubes on the face are leaf-like outgrowths.
Moray eels live alone and adhere to the permanent plots. In rare cases, when there is several convenient crevices morays can live side by side with each other, but it’s a casual neighborhood place, not a friendship. The temper of the eels is a wonderful mix of rage and meekness. According to some divers, the eels are friendly and calm and allow you to touch it. Known cases where Moray eels during underwater filming are accustomed to divers so that swam with them and you can pull yourself out of the water. Ancient history claims that the Roman Crassus was hand-Moray, who came to the call. This allows to speak about certain similarity of intelligence in these fish. However, it opens only subtle and tactful observers.

Female yellow belt rhinomarine — final stage color transformation.
In cases where the eels were treated badly, they respond very strictly. Startled and disturbed Moray instantly attacks and can be very hard to bite. The bites of Moray eels are not only very painful, but also very bad heal (several months), and known deaths. For this reason the eels earlier attributed the poisonous (it was thought that the venom is in their teeth, like snakes), but research has shown these fish are no poisonous glands. Probably, the toxicity of their saliva may be associated with pathogenic bacteria that multiply in the mouth among the food debris and cause infection of the wound. The Moray eel caught on the hook is protected to the last. At first she tries to hide in his hideout and pulls with great force backward and stretched on the land violently snaps his teeth, struggling, writhing, trying to crawl away. This behavior was the reason for much exaggerated opinions about the aggressiveness of these fish.

All species of eels are predators. They feed on fish, crabs, sea urchins, octopus, cuttlefish. Their prey, the Moray eel lurking in ambush, attracting her shemaleshemale nasal tubes. These tubes resemble marine worms-polychaetes, the bait hooked many fish. Once the victim are close enough, Moray lightning throw throws the front part of the body forward and grabs the prey. Narrow mouth Moray eels are not suitable for ingestion of large prey whole, so these fish have developed special tactics of cutting production. For that morays use… tail. Having twisted the tail some stone Moray literally tied in a knot, the muscle contractions it drives the node to the head, the pressure of the jaw muscles increases dramatically and the fish tears off a piece of meat from the victim’s body. This method works for catching strong victims (e.g., octopus).

Moray allows the shrimp cleaner to examine my mouth.
In General, Moray eels are quite greedy, but not bloodthirsty. Certain creatures for them, is a sacred taboo. So the eels never attack small fish wrasses-sweepers, which clean the skin and oral cavity from food debris and parasites. For the same reason they don’t touch the shrimp-techs. Shrimp are often found on the faces of eels that it is hard to imagine these fish without the little roommates.

The reproduction of eels, like eels, are very poorly understood. Some species are dioecious, others change sex sequentially from male to female (for example, tape rhinomuraena). The larvae of eels are called leptocephali, as well as the larvae of eels. Leptocephali Moray eels have a rounded head and a rounded tail fin, the body is completely transparent, and length at birth hardly reaches 7-10 mm. to See such a larva in the water is extremely difficult, in addition leptocephali freely float and are transported by currents for long distances. Thus the spread of sedentary eels. The period of drift lasts 6-10 months, during this time, leptocephali grows and begins to lead a sedentary life. Sexual maturity of eels to reach 4-6 years. The lifespan of these fish is uncertain, but it is great. It is known that most species can live over 10 years.

Spawning — this is the rare case when morays form clusters of several individuals.
Enemy Moray eels have virtually none. First, they are protected by natural shelters in which these fish spend most of his life. Secondly, with large and strong fish, armed with sharp teeth, not everyone wants to fight. If during free swimming (and it happens rarely), the Moray eel chasing other fish, she tries to hide in the nearest crevice. Some species can escape capture, crawling to a safe distance on land.

With a person of the Moray bind a complicated relationship. On one side people were always afraid of these predators and avoid close contact with them in their natural environment. On the other hand the meat of the eels has always been famous for great taste. The famous gourmet ancient Romans valued morays Mediterranean meat along with meat freshwater and its small cousin the eel. The eels were served at banquets as a delicacy and in large quantities. So despite the fear of the people since ancient times, fishing for eels, and the Romans even learned to breed them in cages. Now the experience of breeding of eels in captivity and lost these fish do not grow artificially, especially in tropical areas known cases of poisoning by meat Moray eels. Poisoning is caused by toxins that accumulate in meat when eating a poisonous Moray eel tropical fish. However, in the Mediterranean basin, where the venomous species do not occur, occasional fishing practice.

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