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Florida Manatee & Aquatic Center Animal Fact Sheet
GREEN MORAY EEL
Gymnothorax funebris

Range:
Western Atlantic from New Jersey (U.S.), Bermuda, northern Gulf of Mexico to Brazil.

The Green Moray Eel is one of the most common and largest of moray eels.
The Green Moray Eel has long muscular body with what appears to be one dorsal fin that extends down the length of the body and ends in a short tail fin. However, the combination of the dorsal and anal fins make up the larger fin. While the Green Moray Eel may appear green, the skin of the eel is blue. The Moray Eel gets its dark green color from a layer of yellow mucous that coats the eel’s entire body protecting it from parasites and infectious bacteria. Their green color compliments their surroundings designing them to camouflage among the reefs where they watch for prey. The Green Moray Eel has tube-like nostrils using its sense of smell as a primary tool for hunting prey. However, the Green Moray does not actually hunt for food; the Green Moray hides and waits for the food to come to it.

Although they may appear threatening, unless bothered, the Green Moray is a solitary, docile creature. Many mistake their breathing for a threat—the Green Moray continuously opens and closes its mouth as a way of taking in water to breathe. When they take in water, the water passes over their gills and exits through the openings at the back of their heads.

The Green Moray Eel has two sets of jaws and very sharp replaceable teeth. The second jaw is called the Pharyngeal Jaw, which allows the eel to open its mouth very wide in order to swallow larger prey.




Habitat: Green Morays are bottom dwellers found along rocky shorelines, reefs, mangroves, cracks, crevices, and rocky shorelines. They usually remain solitary and can be territorial occupying a single space for many years.
Diet: Nocturnal predators using their sense of smell to hunt for fish, squid, octopuses, crabs, and eels.
Status: Not Evaluated
Approximate Dimensions of Adult:

Length: 6- 8 ft
Weight: 30 lbs - 65 lbs

Lifespan: Unknown but it is estimated that they can live up to 30 years long
Reproduction & Offspring:

Little is known regarding Green Moray Eel spawning. However, there have been studies to suggest that the Moray Eel is hermaphroditic and spawn when paired from July to September; the two eels then wrap their bodies together and release both sperm and eggs (because all moray eels are in possession of both) for fertilization. Their larvae, known as leptocephali, are transparent, ribbon-like larvae that develop pectoral fins as they mature. During their transformation from leptocephalus to juvenile, the pectoral fins disappear.


 

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