If you ever go scuba diving in the Atlantic ocean, chances are you will be able to spot these fascinating green moray eels among the coral reefs, tidal creeks, and corners of the rocky shorelines. They have a 6 ft (2 m) long green-colored body that makes them look like a sea serpent. They are known to be the largest moray eel of the ecosystem. The moray's dorsal fin starts behind the head and runs along the body, connecting the caudal and anal fins.
They can be found in the cracks of coral reefs opening their mouths and displaying a jaw full of sharp teeth. The bony gills cover on the sides of most fish species open and closes repeatedly to drive water to the internal gill chamber, allowing them to breathe. Moray eels lack these covering, and therefore must rely on their mouths to pump water through their gills.
These fierce predators sit in the dark corners of the reefs to ambush the passing small fish, crabs, and cephalopods.
Read on for more interesting information about these intriguing predators. If you like this article, do read our articles on the moray eel and ribbon eel.
Green Moray Eel
What do they prey on?
Small fish, crabs, squid
What do they eat?
Average litter size?
Up to 10000 eggs
How much do they weigh?
29 lb (13 kg)
How long are they?
6 ft (2 m)
How tall are they?
What do they look like?
Green and yellow
Wet and slimy scales
What are their main threats?
What is their conservation status?
Where you'll find them
Rocky shorelines, mangroves, coral reefs
Western Atlantic Ocean (mainly Gulf of Mexico, the Bahamas, Caribbean Sea)
Green Moray Eel Interesting Facts
What type of animal is a green moray eel?
Green moray eel is a type of fish from the order of Anguilliformes.
What class of animal does a green moray eel belong to?
Green moray eel belongs to the Actinopterygii class.
How many green moray eels are there in the world?
It is difficult to ascertain the population of these species. However, it can be stated that their population is not at risk.
Where does a green moray eel live?
Green moray eel (Scientific name- Gymnothorax funebris) is commonly found in the western Atlantic ocean, particularly the Caribbean sea and the Gulf of Mexico. These eel species also range across New Jersey to Brazil, as well as the Bahamas. One of these species has once been carried by the Gulf Stream and spotted on the coast of Nova Scotia.
What is a green moray eel's habitat?
These species are found in abundance on seawalls and rugged shorelines in cooler waters in the north of the Caribbean Sea. On the other hand, they can be found in coral reefs, mangroves, sandy bottoms, and tidal streams in tropical waters. However, these eel species are mostly found up to the depths of 98 ft (30 m).
Who do green moray eels live with?
Green moray eels are solitary species. They are known to hunt and live on their own.
How long does a green moray eel live?
The lifespan of this fish is not evaluated yet. However, different species of moray eels are known to live for 10-40 years in the sea.
How do they reproduce?
Green moray eels are polygamous in nature and reproduction takes place through oviparous fertilization. The adult female lays up to 10000 eggs at the specific spawning site out of which only a few get fertilized by a male. These eggs are not protected by the male or female green moray eels and therefore survive on their own. They eventually transform into leptocephalus larvae and further into adult eels through the process of metamorphosis.
What is their conservation status?
The population of green moray eels is quite stable and does not face any threat currently. Therefore, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, the conservation status of these species is of Least Concern.
Green Moray Eel Fun Facts
What do green moray eels look like?
These morays have an elongated body of length 6 ft (2 m) that resembles that of a snake. They are characterized by some unusual features. For example, the dorsal fin of the moray begins immediately behind the head, continues throughout the length of the body, and is joined with the caudal fin and anal fin. Both the pelvic fin and pectoral fin are absent in this fish's body. These morays have two full rows of teeth on their top jaw, while a single row of teeth in their lower jaw.
They have gills in the form of two nostrils behind the head, which are visible through two little holes. Although they appear green in color, they are actually dark grey-brown covered in thick yellow mucus. Leptocephalus larvae are transparent and look like a ribbon.
How cute are they?
Gymnothorax funebris do not fall in the category of cute animals. Most people are scared of these species because of their petrifying appearance.
How do they communicate?
Since they are a solitary species, not much information could be derived about the communication of these species. However, they have a powerful sense of smell which helps this species to detect prey and a spawning site too.
How big is a green moray eel?
Green moray eel size is approximately around 6 ft (2 m), almost twice the length of a mullet.
How fast can a green moray eel swim?
The exact speed of these species has not been estimated but it is known that they are slow swimmers.
How much does a green moray eel weigh?
An adult green moray eel weighs around 29 lb (13 kg).
What are the male and female names of the species?
There are no specific names for male or female green moray eels.
What would you call a baby green moray eel?
Young green moray eels are called elver.
What do they eat?
These species are nocturnal predators who wait in the dark holes and crevices of rocks and reefs to attack their prey. The diet of green moray eels consists of fishes, crabs, squid, octopuses, and shrimps.
Are they poisonous?
The green moray eel bite is not always fatal but can cause an infection and pain. So, it is best to keep a safe distance from them and not cause any provocation. Additionally, some people consume moray eels in their habitat which causes a risk of ciguatera poisoning. Moray eels are poisoned by this toxin by eating dinoflagellates, a type of plankton, or by eating a fish that has just eaten a lot of dinoflagellates.
Would they make a good pet?
Yes, green moray eel pet is kept in private or public aquariums due to their bright yet intimidating appearance.
Did you know...
Green moray eels are known to be one of the largest moray eels. A giant green moray eel was 8 ft (2.4 m) long with a weight of over 65 lb (29 kg). This was recorded to be the largest green moray eel.
These predators tie themselves in a knot and efficiently bite chunks of flesh one by one from larger prey like an octopus.
These species have pharyngeal jaws. As soon as they detect prey with their sense of smell, they grasp it with their primary jaw. The secondary jaw rips it with vicious and sharp teeth to pull and swallow it whole.
What is unusual about a green moray eel?
These species appear to have a bright green skin color. However, the actual skin of these species is brown but appears green because of the poisonous layer of mucus present on the skin. This mucus helps this fish to protect itself from harmful parasites. Due to the presence of mucus, the skin of morays is slippery in nature. Apart from parasites, the mucus also shields the skin against erosion when it comes into contact with rocks.
Having your own green moray eel
There are a few things you must keep in mind before buying these species. Moray eels cost around $25-$100 in USD depending on the type of species. If you want to efficiently take care of these species, it is important to arrange for a green moray eel aquarium of size 55-135 gal . Additionally, green moray eel care should be done by following a proper diet according to the instructions.
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