Moray Eel with anthias
Photo copyright Tim Nicholson.
Taken in the Egyptian Red Sea.
Giant Moray Eel, Gymnothorax javanicus, being cleaned by a Cleaner wrasse.

The largest of the moray eels, growing up to 3 m. Quite common and always interesting to observe. Feeds primarily on fish, occasionally on crustaceans and octopus. Morays live in holes and generally hunt by night. You may see them rhythmically opening and closing their mouths. They do this to maintain a respiratory current past the gills. Morays undergo a sex change during growth, changing from male to female.

The eel is being cleaned by a Bluestripe Cleaner wrasse (Labroides dimidiatus). It is eating parasites and dead tissue off the eel's skin. This keeps the eel's skin healthy whilst providing a meal for the wrasse. It's helpful cleaning duties give it protection from being eaten by the larger fish which it helps.

The orange fish swimming round about are female anthias.

Back to the Red Sea Photos...
More Moray Eel Photos are on page 2 of our gallery and in our Google+ Moray Eel album...

Further Reading:
Coral Reef Guide Red Sea, by Robert Myers and Ewald Lieske
The Red Sea, by Andrea Ghisotti
Underwater Photographer , by Martin Edge