Common Name: Mediterranean moray
Scientific Names: Muraena helena
Description: The size of eels seen varies from 10cm juveniles, to small 50cm individuals in the shallows with those over 1m long generally in deeper water. The long, thin sinuous body which is often seen bent around rocks and cracks is very distinctive. The dark brownish colour with large numbers of golden spots is also very characteristic of this species.
Distinctive Features: The sinuous eel-like shape with golden spots on the body is very distinctive.
Abundance: Solitary. At every site with rocky habitats from very shallow to deeper.
Habitat & Behaviour: The Moray eel is a species associated with rocky habitats. It is often seen by divers hidden away in cracks and crevices during the day (here a torch is handy). Whilst it usually emerges at dusk it can also be seen out in the day winding slowly over the sea bed exploring for food.
Reaction to Snorkellers & Divers: Can often be seen by snorkelling but they will soon swim off if they are out in the open. When seen by divers they often ‘stay put’ ultimately retiring further back into their crevice homes.
Other Notes: The video appears to be this species but the still photo is probably the very similar Sarato’s goby (Gobius fallax).
Text: Bob Earll
Photo: Russell & Gill Bennett
Video: Bob Earll & Luke Adshead