With sharp teeth and menacing eyes, an eerie serpent-like creature likes to lurk in the shadows of underwater caves and rocks. The Green Moray eel (Gymnothorax funebris) is found in the western Atlantic from New Jersey, Bermuda, and the northern Gulf of Mexico to Brazil, at depths down to 40 m.
While anyone can visit the resident moray eel at the Bermuda Aquarium, is it possible to see them in the wild?
Reaching impressive sizes of over six feet, this eel can seem a little scary. They flash their sharp, pointed teeth as they open and close their mouths to push water over their gills to breathe, but as with most marine animals, they only bite if being harassed. And would you believe the Green Moray eel isn’t technically green? It’s actually the yellow tint of the mucus that covers its body that gives the fish its
namesake green color.
Green Morays are sedentary predators with strong teeth. Rather than hunting for food, they wait until food comes to them. If it catches something too big to swallow in one bite, it wraps its body around the fish to tear it into chunks. Octopuses, for example, would be eaten tentacle by tentacle.
You aren’t likely to see Morays much because they are mainly nocturnal, feeding mostly at night on fishes, crabs, shrimp, octopuses, and squid. During the day they hide in rocky crevices and caves, which makes them difficult to spot.
Besides green moray eels, you will also find the smaller Spotted Moray and much smaller, pale, and speckled Purplemouth Moray in Bermudian waters.