SCUBA News 262
(ISSN 1476-8011)

SCUBA News (ISSN 1476-8011)
Issue 262 - April 2022

Welcome to SCUBA News. More diving destinations are opening up, but what about your carbon footprint getting there? Read about a carbon calculator for liveaboards in the news section.

What's New at SCUBA Travel?

Manta rays

Back to Bali

The wonderful Bali is again open travelling divers, with visas-on-arrival now available to visitors from many more countries.

Eddystone Reef

Best Dives in Europe

For many, the European dive season is just starting. But where are the best dives on the continent?

Red Sea clownfish

Dazzling Dahab...

...One of the world's best shore diving destinations

Diving with the Guadalupe Great White Sharks - 30% Off

White shark

Guadalupe is one of the best places to see white sharks, especially in August when you can get 30% off on the Vortex liveaboard.


Creature of the Month: Geometric Moray Eel, Gymnothorax griseus

Helmut Debelius in his Red Sea Reef Guide says that the geometric moray eel is seen more often than any other moray eel. But after hundreds of dives in the Red Sea I have seen it only occasionally, unlike the ubiquitous giant moray. Has it become less common, or have I simply been diving in the wrong places or at the wrong times?

Geometric Moray
Photo credit: Tim Sheerman-Chase (CC BY 2.0)

As well as the Red Sea, this eel is found throughout the Western Indian Ocean including Madagascar, Mauritius, Oman, Mozambique, Seychelles and South Africa.

This eel has a long body with one continuous fin along its back. Like other morays it has elongated front nostrils, it also has extra nostrils a little further back. You can easily recognise it by the dashed lines patterning its face. Quite small for a moray, the Geometric moray reaches 65 cm long. It lives at depths down to 40 m on coral and rocky reefs. You may see groups of up to 10 young eels sheltering in rock crevices. The black dashes on the face and body of this moray mark its pores. These are part of its lateral line system which detects changes in pressure and so can be used to detect movement and vibration in the surrounding water.

Also known as the Peppered Moray
Photo credit: Tim Sheerman-Chase (CC BY 2.0)

Hunting with Groupers

Morays live in holes and generally hunt by night, locating their prey by their excellent sense of smell using their four nostrils. Moving with snake-like motions, they are extremely quick.

or the grey moray
Photo credit: Alexander Vasenin (CC BY 3.0)

The geometric moray is a solitary hunter. It swims among the corals and rocks, occasionally poking its head into fissures and crevices searching for food. Without scales and covered in mucus it can slip into openings others can't. The eel flushes out small fish that cannot be reached by other hunters like groupers. Some groupers, and other types of hunter fish, hang around with the eels and snatch up fish driven out by the eels. This behaviour has been seen at several locations, but not always with the same species of fish. This makes it likely that the grouper and other hunters are copying the behaviour of others.

Yet another name is Sidera grisea
Photo credit: NOAA

The grouper and other hunters like lionfish normally have their own territories, but they will leave these temporarily to associate with a hunting geometric moray eel. Observations suggest a much higher success rate for for strikes on prey with the eel's assistance than without. It's unclear if the eel benefits as well.

Male and female at the same time

The geometric moray is both male and female at the same time. They release up to 12,000 eggs per spawn.

When at rest you may see them rhythmically opening and closing their mouths. They do this to maintain a respiratory current past the gills.

But we think that the geometric moray describes it best
Photo credit: Tim Nicholson

A moray of many names

The Geometric moray, Gymnothorax griseus is also known as the Grey Moray, Peppered Moray and Siderea grisea.

Class: Teleostei > Subclass: Elopomorpha > Superorder: Anguilliformes > Order: Muraenidae > Family: Muraeninae > Subfamily: Gymnothorax > Genus: Gymnothorax > Species Gymnothorax griseus

Further Reading and References

Ewald Lieske and Robert Myers, Coral Reef Guide Red Sea

Debelius, Helmut (2001). Red Sea reef guide

Interspecific feeding associations of groupers (Teleostei: Serranidae) with octopuses and moray eels in the Gulf of Eilat (Agaba) January 1985Environmental Biology of Fishes 13(2):153-159 DOI:10.1007/BF00002584

Functional hermaphroditism in teleosts, Yvonne Sadovy De Mitcheson,Min Liu. 2008

Diving news from around the World

Plane flying above the trees

Calculate your scuba liveaboard carbon footprint
Liveaboards open up some of the best diving in the world. But at a cost to the environment. Find out how much carbon your liveaboard and flights are emitting, and how to offset with seagrass.

The liveaboard before the fire

Divers escape Red Sea liveaboard fire
A fire started in the engine room of the dive boat Scuba Scene shortly after she left the port of Hurghada. All divers and crew managed to escape unharmed via zodiacs.

Rather attractive looking virus

Viruses are not always the villain
We can thank microbes for moving carbon to the depths of the ocean, but will our changing world mess with their good work? And should we intervene?

ocean plastic

Our ocean is choking on plastic - but it's a problem we can solve
Worldwide, only 9% of plastic makes it to a recycling plant - so recycling alone won't solve our ocean

Coral reef

Where to dive in May
The seasons are beginning to change around the world in May and bring favourable dive conditions for some of the best destinations in the world.

SCUBA News is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported License. This means we are happy for you to reuse our material for both commercial and non-commercial use as long as you: credit the name of the author, link back to the SCUBA Travel website and say if you have made any changes. Some of the photos though, might be copyright the photographer. If in doubt please get in touch.

Photo credits: Tim Nicholson, Jill Studholme, Kristin Riser, Jianye Sui, Andrea Izzotti/DepositPhotos

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