Moray eel (Muraenidae) is a family of fishes of the order Anguilliformes. The body is serpentine. The skin is bare. Pectoral fins are absent. There is no tongue. The jaws have strong teeth. Marine fish, inhabitants of tropical and subtropical latitudes. Includes about 20 genera and more than 100 species. Predators, feed on squid, cuttlefish, fish. Individual species - Muraena helena reaches a length of 3 meters. Lives in the crevices of rocks, among the stones in the warm waters of the African and European coasts of the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea. The meat of some moray eels is poisonous. Moray eel are the object of sport fishing and local fisheries.
Occasionally found in fresh waters. Found in tropical and temperate seas. Possess long fang-like teeth. Gill openings are reduced (small and rounded on the sides of the head). Pectoral fins are absent. Vertebrae - 110-200. Have a size from 11 cm (Anarchias leucurus) to 4 m (Strophidon sathete). The largest species in the family is considered to be the giant moray eel, which reaches a weight of more than 30 kg.
During the day moray eel, as a rule, sit in the crevices of rocks or coral, sticking their heads out and usually wiggling them from side to side, looking for passing prey, at night they come out of hiding to hunt. The burrows in which moray eel live are often too narrow to properly open their jaws and pull the prey into the mouth with the water, as many other predatory fish do, so the teeth of moray eels are located on two pairs of jaws - the second pair is located deep in the throat, but is able to extend to grab the prey and drag it into the esophagus.
The ancient Romans highly valued the meat of moray eel. For its sake, they dammed ponds and bays and planted many of these fish there, so that they always had them for their feasts. According to Pliny, the first arranged such a pond Girius and so populated it that at the triumphal procession of Caesar, he could bring to the table to his friends 6000 fish. "The Roman Crassus wrote that he had in one cage a fine large moray eel, which he loved very much and decorated with gold plates; this moray eel recognized the voice of Crassus, swam up to him and took food from his hands; when this fish calved, Crassus wore mourning for it, buried it and mourned." This fish belongs to those that were well known in antiquity, there are many stories about it, they contain marvelous information about its manners and birth. But, all these reports are true only in part, although there is some truth in them. From new researchers we know almost nothing about moray eel.
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