Anguilliformes – Eels and Morays

Fische der Kanaren – Anguilliformes – Aalartige Arten der Kanarischen Inseln

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Anguilliformes are an order of the bony fish, which covers a little more than 900 species. Although most Anguilliformes are night-time hunters, some species can also be observed in caves, crevices and holes during the daytime.


The main feature of the Anguilliformes is their elongated, serpentine body, which can be up to four meters in length or only a few centimetres depending on the species. Another common feature is that the dorsal and anterior fins form a continuous raft, while the ventral fin has disappeared in most species. The thoracic fin is indeed present, but the corresponding supporting bones are missing, which is why it sits far behind the head of the animals.Furthermore, the Anguilliformes are missing some skull bones and during the metamorphosis some jaw bones fuse. Their spine consists of up to 770 vertebrae.
Moreover, Anguilliformes are predominantly scaly. Their skin is naked and slimy, supporting skin breathing.


Apart from the polar regions, Anguilliformes occur in all seas and oceans. Some of them, the freshwater eels (Anguillidae), even in freshwater. However, for reproduction these eels also migrate to the sea.


There is no order, genus or family of eels, but this division is easier for me. For example, the Leopard Eel, as the name implies, is a species in the family of the Snake Eels, while the Brown Garden Eel and the Bandtooth Conger are species in the family of Congridae

A common feature of all eels in the Canaries is their suspicious behaviour towards divers.

Muraenidae – Moray eels

The family of the moray eels contains about 200 species, which are mainly found in tropical and subtropical oceans. Some think they are aggressive and dangerous. THAT ISN’T TRUE! As long as you leave them alone, don’t get to close and respect them, they do not do anything to you. Nevertheless, one should be careful, because the bite of some moray eels can cause inflammation due to bacteria.
Muraenidae have four nostrils and can smell very good. They can not see well for that.