No Chicken of the Sea but Not a Monster Either

By
Real Estate Agent with Retired CA BRE# 01048160

Moray eel

Meet Larry, Curly and Moe. They are three Moray eels found at the Birch Aquarium in La Jolla. Often referred to as mosters of the sea, these curious creatures are not actually the mosters they are thought to be. Their shape and habits do however give them some real advantages for survival. 

A few facts about the Moray eels:

While they have large eyes, they have poor vision and compensate with an acute sense of smell.

Moray eels are rarely found swimming about in the daytime because they are nocturnal. They hide in crevices and snatch prey as it passes by.

Moray eels are most often found in warmer tropical waters in coral reefs but can also occasionally be found in colder waters.

Green Moray eels are actually blue but a yellow slimy coating used to help them slide through rough rocky or coral areas and that yellowy slime makes them appear green.

Moray ells are not typically aggressive but will strike if frightened or threatened. They typically do not bite unless provoked but their strong jaws and sharp teeth can bite through fingers or hands.

Moray eels are actually fish and not reptiles despite their snake like appearance.

There are well over 200 different species and can range in size from under one foot to over 7 feet long.

A moray eel is carnivorous and their diets consist only of meat. Fish, mollusks and crabs are their main source of food. 

Moray eels can swim both backwards and forwards. They can lunge both backward and forward with great speed which increases their threat if startled or provoked.

Many other eels produce a toxic poison that discourages them from being a source of food. Moray eels while they do not produce this poison, are still considered toxic and can cause serious illness if consumed.

 

 

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Comments (33)

Susan Neal
RE/MAX Gold, Fair Oaks - Fair Oaks, CA
Fair Oaks CA & Sacramento Area Real Estate Broker

Hi William - It has been awhile since I've been to that aquarium.  Scripps is a fascinating place!

Jan 09, 2012 03:18 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

William

Another one of your stunning photos. We have free tickets to the aquarium but haven't gotten around to going. What an inspiration!

Jeff

Jan 09, 2012 03:56 PM
William Johnson
Retired - La Jolla, CA
Retired Real Estate Professional

Hi Peter and Linda, Your comment was so funny and so real at the same time. Loved it and had a private laugh, though it was out loud, LOL

Jan 09, 2012 04:52 PM
William Johnson
Retired - La Jolla, CA
Retired Real Estate Professional

Hi Susan, I love it that we have it and it is so convenient. Every time I go I see things that I missed and new perspectives on things I remember. 

Jan 09, 2012 04:54 PM
William Johnson
Retired - La Jolla, CA
Retired Real Estate Professional

Hi Jeff, I love he place. It is small and many of the same exhibitis but I get a thril out of seeing the displays just the same. And they always have at least a few new things I have never seen before. 

I have been to the Zoo and Safari Park so often even the animals seem to recognise me. But these animals are so amazing and each time I see them, I learn new things. 

I guess it shows that I loved biology. 

Jan 09, 2012 04:58 PM
Russell Lewis
Realty Austin, Austin Texas Real Estate - Austin, TX
Broker,CLHMS,GRI

William, wow, that is a fabulous photo and of course I cracked up at the title! The aguarium a great resource for your community too!

Jan 10, 2012 12:19 AM
William Johnson
Retired - La Jolla, CA
Retired Real Estate Professional

Hi Russel, Thank you and I lost some clarity because it was so dark. I do agree about the community benefit. What is cool about this one is that it has outside displays showing life in the tidepools for kids. I didn't photograph it because frankly it was impossible to see much with dozens of hands in the water and little heads blocking a shot. It's theirs and perhaps that the way it should be. 

Jan 10, 2012 03:21 AM
Barbara-Jo Roberts Berberi, MA, PSA, TRC - Greater Clearwater Florida Residential Real Estate Professional
Charles Rutenberg Realty - Clearwater, FL
Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Clearwater, Safety Harbor

Moray eels....nasty buggers! We have them in our waters as well and I have even caught one (thank heaven a little one) while fishing once...........not an easy one to bring in since he attempted wrapping himself around some rocks..........but I got him..........and then we released him again........

Jan 10, 2012 04:10 AM
Keith Gilkey
Re/Max Chesapeake - Elkton, MD
410-920-7214, Re/Max Chesapeake

William, Great shot! I can tell you one thing about the Moray eel..you don't want to hook them when fishing! What a fight and miserable to unhook! I have hooked them off the coast if N.C. many times.

Jan 10, 2012 07:49 AM
William Johnson
Retired - La Jolla, CA
Retired Real Estate Professional

Hi Barbara Jo, The poor thing must have been scared , LOL. Just kidding, I think it is interesting though that you caught one. Just think, if it were today, you have a photo and I wonder if it would really look blue as they say they actually are under the yellow slime that coates them. 

Jan 10, 2012 02:58 PM
Mona Gersky
MoonDancer Realty, Dillsboro,NC - Sylva, NC
GRI,IMSD-Taking the mystery out of real estate.

Beautiful shot, good to know about the toxicity...'cause they sure look tasty...NOT!

Jan 10, 2012 02:59 PM
William Johnson
Retired - La Jolla, CA
Retired Real Estate Professional

Hi Keith, Barbara Jo got one as well. I can't imagine actually hooking one. I think I will pass on hooking one and accept your word that I would not enjoy the experience, LOL

Jan 10, 2012 03:01 PM
William Johnson
Retired - La Jolla, CA
Retired Real Estate Professional

Hi Mona, LMAO. You are too funny. When I wrote this I sure wasn't thinking of anyone I know that would even try to eat them, YUK! But in other parts of the world, they eat a lot things I could never imagine being considered food. 

Jan 10, 2012 03:04 PM
Sharon Paxson
Compass - Newport Beach, CA
Newport Beach Real Estate

Hi William - fantastic photos of these moray eels, and great information about them as well. I am a Scuba diver, and have seen them diving, love to look, but I still keep my distance - especially that I know that can backwards too in a hurry!!

Jan 10, 2012 04:05 PM
Bill Gassett
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Hopkinton, MA
Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate

William you never cease to amaze me! The photos are crazy cool. I can't believe how vivid they look....kinda like you were swimming with them.

Jan 10, 2012 11:50 PM
William Johnson
Retired - La Jolla, CA
Retired Real Estate Professional

Hi Sharon, That would be a facinating experience at first but believing that they usually only strike if provoked would have me still wanting to get a photo  but from a safe distance too. The difficulty shooting close-up through thick glass with poor lighting made me almost not want to post this. But they are interesting and I think as a Localism Post they serve to provide great interest in the marine displays based on how unusual they look but at the same time have very interesting habits and are facinating to look at. 

Jan 11, 2012 05:41 AM
William Johnson
Retired - La Jolla, CA
Retired Real Estate Professional

Hi Bill, Thank you, I love these Localism posts that show our area with so many interesting things to do. We are really blessed here with great weather but also have a real diversity of great cultural and science interests as well. Paying home prices that are often quite high are to some degree offset with the quality of life that is both interesting and entertaining as well.

Jan 11, 2012 05:45 AM
Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

It is always fun to visit aquariums.  Wonderful photograph!  You should post an aquarium series.

Have an outstanding week and be sure to have your camera in hand to capture those special moments.

 

Red and White Dahila at Brookside Gardens (IMG_5952)

 

Photograph by Roy Kelley

Roy and Dolores Kelley Photographs

 

Jan 15, 2012 12:55 AM
Toni Weidman
Sailwinds Realty - Trinity, FL
20+ Years Selling Homes in New Port Richey, FL

I enjoy visiting aquariums and always find something new and fascinating there. Thank you for all the information on the Moray Eel, William.

Jan 15, 2012 01:31 AM
Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

Good Sunday morning.

I always enjoy your photographs.

Have an outstanding week and be sure to have your camera in hand to capture those special moments that you will want to share.

Feb 05, 2012 04:12 AM