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Marine Life Spotlight: 6 Amazing Facts About Moray Eels

Marine life spotlight

One of the fascinating marine creatures that you can encounter during your dive is the moray eel. These carnivorous animals like to feed on fish, squid, cuttlefish, octopus, crabs, and mollusks. Get to know more about this serpent-like aquatic animal through these amazing facts.

1. 200 known species

There are about 200 known species worldwide which can be split into two main categories: true morays and snake morays. True moray eels are more common which includes 166 known species. The giant moray eel is the largest species which can weigh up to 30 kg and measure around 2 meters. These humongous species are widespread in the Indo-Pacific region.

Some of the species that you can encounter when you go scuba diving UAE are the Spotted or Speckled Moray eel and Honeycomb Moray eel. 

2. Intimidating gaping mouth

If it’s your first time to encounter a moray eel while diving, you might be intimidated by how it opens and closes its mouth. You might think that it’s a threatening behavior but it’s actually the animal’s way of breathing. Most fish species have what you call bony gill covers located at both sides of the body which open and close to expel water. This action enables them to breathe. Since the moray eel does not have this kind of gill cover, it relies on its mouth to pump water through the gills.

3. Alien-like jaws 

Yes, you read it right … two jaws! No wonder this animal reminds sci-fi lovers of the 1979 film series “Alien” starring Sigourney Weaver. The moray eel has an extraordinary pair of hidden chompers that it uses to attack its prey. Within its esophagus are two concealed pharyngeal jaws that help the moray eel seize its victim. 

Unlike most fish that use suction to consume their food, the moray goes through two steps. First, it ensnares its prey with its outer jaw. Second, it fires forward its other jaw to bite its victim and pull it into the throat. The moray’s teeth are pointing backward which makes it almost impossible for its victim to escape once captured. 

Although morays are efficient predators, they are hunted by larger marine animals such as barracudas and sharks. 

4. Poor eyesight but an incredible sense of smell

This predator has surprisingly poor eyesight despite their large eyes. If it cannot see well, how can it capture its prey? The answer to that is a keen sense of smell. What it lacks visually, it compensates through its olfactory system when hunting. Equipped with two small elongated appendages on its nose, the moray eel can easily smell its prey.

5. Efficient nocturnal marine creature

If you want to see a moray eel, a night dive is a perfect opportunity to see one. Most moray eels are more active after the sun goes down. They can be spotted swimming and hunting in the cover of darkness. Join our Night Dive when going scuba diving Fujairah for a chance to see this marvelous marine animal. 

6. Clever creatures 

Did you know that morays can cooperate with other fish while hunting? These creatures have been observed working together with groupers to flush out their prey. In this video clip, you’ll see the grouper sending head-shaking signals to the moray eel to reveal the hiding place of the prey. The moray understands the signal and checks out the cracks and crevices. Incredible teamwork!


Scuba diving is an exciting and adventurous water sport that offers a chance to explore the beauty of the underwater world and its amazing marine life. The UAE, particularly Dubai, is one of the most popular destinations for scuba diving, attracting divers from all over the world. With its crystal clear waters and diverse marine life, scuba diving in Dubai offers a unique and unforgettable experience.

The cost of scuba diving in Dubai varies depending on the dive center you choose and the type of dive you opt for. On average, a single dive can cost anywhere from AED 250 to AED 550, with the average price for a single dive being around AED 350. This price usually includes all the necessary equipment, such as the dive tank, regulator, and wetsuit, as well as the services of a professional dive guide. At Nemo Diving Center, We offer a wide range of diving packages to suit every budget and experience level.

Diving in Dubai is an incredible experience, and the UAE is home to many dive sites teeming with amazing marine life including colorful soft and hard corals, sea turtles, stingrays, manta rays, moray eels, cuttlefish, octopus, nudibranchs, seahorses, and a plethora of fish species. It is also noted for its incredible dive wrecks that have become rich artificial reefs. These dive sites offer a unique and exciting diving experience, providing a chance to explore sunken ships and other structures that have become havens for marine life.

Come and explore the unique underwater world of Palm Jumeriah in Dubai and incredible dive sites in Fujairah such as Dibba Rock, Sharm Rock, Martini Rock, Snoopy Island, and more. At Nemo Diving Center, we offer dive trips to these amazing dive sites, allowing divers to discover the incredible marine life that has made the wreck its home. We also offer a wide range of other dive sites to choose from, including shallow coral reefs, deep wrecks, and drift dives, providing something for every level of diver.

In conclusion, scuba diving in Dubai offers an unforgettable experience for all levels of diver. With its clear waters, diverse marine life, and incredible dive sites, Dubai is a must-visit destination for any scuba diver. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced diver, our team at Nemo Diving Center will ensure that you have an amazing time exploring the beauty of the underwater world.



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