There are over 200 species of moray eel found around the world – in fresh, marine, and brackish waters. Morays can range in size from 6 inches to 15 feet!
Moray eels spend most of their time hidden in crevices within reef structures at the bottom of the sea, waiting to ambush prey that swims by. They are active predators, feeding on fish, octopuses, squid, cuttlefish, crabs, and mollusks.
Some of the larger species of Moray Eels are known to engage in cooperative hunting with the Roving Coral Grouper, meaning that the two species join forces to become more successful at acquiring food.
Like the monster in Alien (1979), morays attack their victims with a hidden set of chompers. Inside the mouth are pair of concealed pharyngeal jaws that help the eel ensnare its prey. Whereas most predatory fish use suction to pull food down their throats, morays instead rely upon a two-step strategy. First, the outer jaws firmly grasp the target. Next, their pharyngeal set shoots forwards, bites the unfortunate victim, and pulls it into the throat.
These intelligent reef fish can live for 10-30 years, and are an absolutely fascinating fish to see while diving as long as they are given respect and viewed at a distance.