Photo copyright Tim Nicholson.
Taken in the Southern Egyptian Red Sea.
Giant Moray Eel, Gymnothorax javanicus (Bleeker)
This photo shows a Giant Moray being cleaned by wrasse. The small blue fish towards the bottom of the photo is a Cleaner Wrasse, Labroides dimidiatus. The black and white spotted fish is a juvenile Hogfish, Bodianux axillaris, which also sometimes serves as a cleaner. Watching the proceedings from under a ledge is a Squirrelfish, Sargocentron spiniferum.
This is 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.
s cleaner fish are one of many species of cleaner fish that remove parasites such as lice from much larger fish. The clients, like this eel, get a valuable service and the cleaner fish get food.