Brown Moray Eel – Gymnothorax unicolor

Brown Moray Eel Gymnothorax Unicolor scuba diving canary islands anguilliformes species Mediterranean Sea
Brown Moray Eel – Gymnothorax unicolor A rather old specimen of a species that spend most of their time in a shelter.

The Brown Moray Eel belongs to the family of Muraenidae and is therefore part of the order of Anguilliformes. Gymnothorax unicolor was first described by Delaroche in 1809.

Description, Anatomy & Characteristics

The Brown Moray Eel has a typically elongated eel-like body. As its name suggests, it is brown in colour with a darker tip. This is at least true for older animals. Younger representatives of the species usually have a somewhat bluish shimmer and a distinctive yellow dorsal fin. In addition, dorsal, tail and anal fins have grown together to form a fin hem.

Compared to other moray eels, only two of four nostrils are clearly visible in Gymnothorax unicolor. It also has a thicker head, with a less pointed mouth than other species in the Canary Islands. Their mouth cleft is large and reaches far behind the eyes. The skin of the brown moray eel is free of scales and covered with a thick slimy layer.

Gymnothorax unicolor reaches a maximum size of more than 100cm.

Habitat & Distribution

The Brown Moray Eel lives in rocky reefs. It spends most of its time in her crevices, its hole or in small caves. It occurs in shallow water, but also in depths down to 300m.

When scuba diving on the Canary Islands, it belongs to the species of moray eels that can be observed more frequently.

In addition, their distribution area extends over the Mediterranean Sea and the adjoining Atlantic Ocean. They can also be found in Madeira, the Azores, Cape Verde or on the coasts of Morocco and Portugal.

Fische der Kanaren – Anguilliformes – Aalartige Arten der Kanarischen Inseln

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Biology & Feeding

Gymnothorax unicolor lives predatory and feeds on crustaceans, cephalopods and small fish. They are exclusively nocturnal. In larger caves you can sometimes see them hunting during the day.

By long observation of the animals it seems to me as if they have into fixed spot of living. At least there are many Brown Moray Eels in the Canary Islands, which can be found in the same holes and crevices again and again.

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