The White Eyed Moray Eel (Siderea thyrsoidea) is an oddball because of it's snake like body, muscular yet compressed, however the ‘eel' is actually a fish with one ribbon dorsal fin running near the entire length of the body.
This shy unaggressive creature was sensationalised in the movie ‘the deep’ attacking divers and since has been given a bad reputation. Like sharks were given bad name from the movie ‘jaws’. Sadly it takes time for the these creatures reputation to recover from such TV over dramatisation!
The White Eyed Moray can grow up to a size of 65cm but on average they would be found around 40cm in length. With elongated protruding nostrils they have a fantastic sense of smell which is primarily used to hunt as their sight is not so hot! They can be found under and around rocks, wrecks and coral gardens, commonly around the warm water regions of the Indo-Pacific.
There are many threats to the creatures that live on the reefs, one being rubbish. Eels found entangled in fishing line, nets and trash. They will spin and role in defence to break the entanglement this can cause the eel to become even more twisted and caught up in the hazard if it can not break free.
I found one eel with line twisted across it gills and it was unable to breath. With care my buddy and I removed the line, during removal the eel did not act in an aggressive manner it seemed thankfully as it was able to breath again. Then it found a rock to hide beneath and recover from the ordeal. So don’t use the sea as a trash bin and help us look after the ocean which looks after us so well!
Thanks for reading, Papua New Guinea is the final frontier for diving and I think I will never leave this place now I have had a taste!
This posing White Eyed Moray found a good home among the hard coral