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Florida Manatee & Aquatic Center Animal Fact Sheet
Muraena retifea

Widespread Western Atlantic & Caribbean

Eels open and close their mouths to move water through their gills for respiration. Most people will view this behavior threatening, however, this is in fact far from the truth. The Reticulated Eel, as well as most eels, are very shy creatures and will only attack if provoked!


Habitat: Found individually amongst rocks, reefs, rubble and ledges at moderate depths often well offshore.
Diet: Carnivores: They feed nocturnally on fish, octopus and crustaceans. Moray eels are actually able to tie their bodies into knots, to anchor themselves when tearing at food.
Status: Not Evaluated
Approximate Dimensions of Adult:

Length: 60 cm

Lifespan: Up to 15 years.
Reproduction & Offspring:

Courting eels open their mouths very wide, and then wrap their bodies around each other for hours. They do not separate until the female has laid her eggs and the male has fertilised them. Once hatched, all eels go through a larval phase (known as a leptocephalus) as juveniles, in which they form part of the plankton.


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