Our Moray Eels had a bit of a clean up in Lembeh this week with the help of some industrious Cleaner Shrimp! It’s not only the tiny creatures we see here, the beautiful Moray Eels also helps to make up our amazing wildlife. This great shot of the Giant Estuarine Moray Eel, was taken by our guest, Judith.
There are approximately 200 species of Moray Eels and they range in length from 10 cm to up to 4 metres. They are carnivorous and feed on smaller fish, Octopus, Crustaceans, Squid and Cuttlefish. The Moray Eel has a second jaw in their throat, which is known as a Pharyngeal Jaw. When feeding, they grab the prey with their teeth and this second Jaw is pushed forward to take the food and carry it to the digestive system. Their gills are only small, so in order to gather more flowing water and aid respiration, they are constantly opening and closing their mouths. This may cause divers to believe they are dangerous or threatening, when in fact, they are not. However they do have quite poor eyesight, so not a good idea to stick your finger anywhere near their mouth, they may mistake it for a fish!
The Moray Eel has the ability to secrete large amounts of mucous over it’s body which enables them to move smoothly through the water. It also attracts parasites which, in turn, attract Cleaner Shrimps who like to feed on Parasites. This is why, more often than not, every time you see a Moray Eel, it will generally have one or two Cleaner Shrimp hanging out with it! The Cleaner Shrimp and the Moray Eel have a Mutualistic Relationship, where both parties benefit from the union. The Shrimp gets fed and the Moray Eel gets a clean!
Along with the Moray Eels, our guests also had the pleasure of seeing the Wunderpuss Octopus, Mandarin Fish, Flambouyant Cuttlefish, Blue Spotted Stingrays and Tiger Shrimp and much much more!
Here in Lembeh we are fortunate to see many of our guests return each year. This week, Ville from Finland and David and Julie, from the UK, came back for a second visit and it was great to see them again!
Our other guests hailed from France, Spain, Ireland, Switzerland and Germany.