British Wildlife Wiki

Moray Eel - Nada Woolcock

The Moray Eel (Muraena helena) can grow to Max 1.3m.


Deep bodied eel with lateral compression. Large mouth with extremely sharp conical teeth, aided by powerful jaws. The dorsal fin originates close behind the back of the head, and runs the entire length of the back, where it fuses at the tail with the anal fin, which is about half of the dorsal fins length. Both the pectoral and pelvic fins are absent. The opercular opening (gill slit) is pore-like in appearance. Colouration is of a redish brown to black, especially on the back with yellow to white mottling and banding on the sides, that becomes less distinct towards the head region.


Believed to spawn offshore during summer (July-Sept). Large eggs 5.5mm with post -larva being transparent and laterally flattened.


Associated with crevices of inshore waters, with such things as rocks, ship wrecks, seawalls, rubble etc.. Shore to 30m plus, and mainly nocturnal (esp in shallower waters).


Mainly nocturnal feeder and opportunist, upon fish and invertebrates such as cephalopods (squid etc..).


Rare to the UK, most being recorded from Cornwall and the Channel Islands, which would seem to mark their northern extent.


The Aquarium Project