The moray eel is a large species of eel found in warm and temperate waters all around the world. They are also around the Gili Islands. Despite their snake-like appearance, moray eels (along with other eel species) are in fact fish and not reptiles.
Moray eels are found in both deep and shallow waters in tropical and sub-tropical regions. Although moray eels can be find in cooler waters occasionally, they tend to remain in the crevices deep in the ocean rather than venturing into shore. The largest populations of moray eels are found around tropical coral reefs where they are numerous different marine species found in large numbers. Specially when you are diving the dive sites around the Gili Islands named Halik, Hans and Bounty wreck you will see them.
There are around 200 different species of moray eel than can range in size from just 10cm long to nearly 2 meters in length. Despite their varying size and colour all moray eels are fairly similar in appearance with an elongated body, slightly flattened towards the tail. Moray eels also have large eyes and mouths which contain large teeth.
The moray eel is a relatively secretive animal, spending much of its time hiding in holes and crevices amongst the rocks and coral on the ocean floor. By spending the majority of their time hiding, moray eels are able to remain out of sight from predators and are also able to ambush any unsuspecting prey that passes.
Like many other large fish, the moray eel is a carnivorous animal surviving on a diet that consists of only meat. Fish, molluscs including squid and cuttlefish and crustaceans such as crabs are the main source of food for the moray eel.
The moray eel is often one of the most dominant predators within its environment but moray eels are hunting by some other animals including other large fish like grouper and barracuda, sharks and humans.
Moray eels tend to mate when the water is warmest towards the end of the summer. Moray eel fertilisation is oviparous, meaning that eggs and sperm are fertilised outside of the womb, in the surrounding water, which is known as spawning. More than 10,000 eggs can be released at a time, which develop into larvae and become part of the plankton. It can take up to year for the moray eel larvae to have grown big enough to swim down to the ocean floor to join the community below