Hardtail Moray Eel

Photo courtesy from Ryan Photographic

Hardtail Moray Eel (Anarchias galapagensis)

Other Name: Minute Moray Eel
Max. Length: 17 centimeters
Length at 1st Maturity: 11.2 centimeters
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b value:
Depth Range: 3 – 25 meters (10 – 83 feet)
Frequency: Abundant in the reefs of the Eastern Pacific Ocean

Photo courtesy from Discover Life

The Genus Anarchias where Hardtail Moray Eels belong, which means “lack of authority”, is based on the small size of the species. Considered as one of the smallest moray eels in the world, a hardtail moray eel can only grow up to 17 centimeters despite its elongated and snake-like body.

Aside from its miniature size, you can easily identify a hardtail moray eel through its long and slender brown-colored body that is tightly compressed with white blotches that resembles like stars. Their snout are short with eyes that are located slightly before the middle jaw and a white tail.

If you wish to interact with a hardtail moray eel during your underwater adventures in Cocos Island, you need to lay close to the reef where they are often found on the sand or hiding in between rocks. But we warn you though that while staying close to ground, the possibility of accidentally disturbing or damaging the bottom ecosystem is high. So with this, you need to establish perfect neutral buoyancy so that you will have nice view of the hardtail moray eel, as well as other small critters, without causing damage to the ecosystem.

Constant Yawning of the Mouth

If you happen to have a close up view of a hardtail moray eel in Cocos Island, you will observe that they constantly open and close their mouth. This constant mouth movement is their own way of supplying their body with oxygen by allowing water to come in to the mouth where oxygen is extracted in the gills. Aside from this, the frequent motion of their mouth allows you to have a glimpse of their dental system where you can see that their teeth are conical.

Given the close-up view of their mouth, you will see that they have a variation of dental system where the front jaw is made up of 2 rows of teeth while there is a single row on the side. On the lighter side, I just can’t imagine this with humans. If so, then our Dentist will have a huge problem.

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Fishbase: www.fishbase.org

IUCN Redlist of Threatened Species: www.iucnredlist.org

Encyclopedia of Life: www.eol.org

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