It is a nocturnal animal that hides away in a shelter during the day. It comes out at dusk to hunt fish, cuttlefish and crustaceans, which it detects thanks to its highly developed sense of smell.
Little is known about how moray eels breed. They are egg-layers, and it would appear that their spawning grounds are extremely deep (400 m). At birth, the moray eel goes through a larval stage when, like the European eel, it looks like a willow leaf, measuring 5 to 10 cm long. The larvae are transparent and feed on plankton.
They start out as hermaphrodites (both male and female) and then acquire one of the sexes permanently, undoubtedly under the influence of environmental factors.
Because moray bites tend to get infected, they were long believed to be venomous. This is not the case. However, their teeth are often soiled with decomposing food residue. In addition, the large green moray often contain a toxin that is the cause of the food poisoning known as « ciguatera ».
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