Mediterranean Moray - Muraena helena

This Mediterranean Moray was found on a rocky bottom about 45 meters deep. Moray eels often stay in their hole during the day with their heads partially out to check the territory. This specimen proved to be particularly shy and fearful returning to its lair as soon as it perceived the presence of the divers. Murena Muraena helena Moray eel

Murena - Muraena helena Moray eel -
Murena – Muraena helena – Moray eel –

Mediterranean moray (sometimes also called Roman eel, Muraena helena) is a fish of the moray eel family. It has a long eel-like body and is found in the eastern Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea. Its bite can be dangerous to humans.

Appearance and characteristics

Muraena helena showing typical moray eel morphology: robust anguilliform shape, lack of pectoral fins and circular gill openings. The Mediterranean moray has an elongated, eel-like body and can reach a length of 1.5 meters and weigh over 15 kilograms. Its coloration varies from dark grey to dark brown with fine dark spots. 

Murena - Muraena helena Moray eel -
Muraena helena  –  Moray eel –

Mediterranean moray spends most of the day in cavities and clefts between rocks and is more active at night. It hunts fishes, crayfishes and cephalopods, but also feeds on dead animals. The Mediterranean moray’s reproduction is not well known. They spawn about 60,000 eggs into open water, from which planktonic transparent leptocephali hatch. One parasitic crustacean, the trematode Folliculovarium mediterraneum and the flatworm Lecithochirium grandiporum are parasites of the Mediterranean moray.

Human importance

The bite of the Mediterranean moray can be dangerous mainly due to the mildly toxic slime of its skin. It can be utilized fresh and eaten broiled, boiled and baked. The skin can be used for leather.



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