Ribbon Eel Facts
- Firstly, the fantastic looking Ribbon Eel appears to be an extremely unusual species of eel. Furthermore, the surprising creature also evolved as endemic to a highly specific portion of the world.
- The truly remarkable animal actually holds one incredible secret that legitimately sets it apart from related species. That holds true due to the fact that all members of this species begin their lives as males.
- However, at a random time after reaching maturity, some individuals spontaneously change their gender to female. What causes some individuals to do so, but not others remains a mystery.
- In addition, due to its physical appearance, many believe it to be a member of the moray eel family. However, this is not the case. This surprising species, in fact, belongs to an entirely different family.
- Finally, although it rarely lives long in captivity, hunting of it for home aquariums persists. Fortunately, its numbers in the wild appear stable, despite this practice. However, that could easily change, due to a variety of factors, including climate change.
Ribbon Eel Physical Description
Most notably, many people believe that the brilliantly colored Ribbon Eel bears a strong resemblance to the mythical Chinese Dragon. That belief occurs because the animal possesses a very long, thin body.
Fascinatingly, the amazing creature also changes colors as it ages, in a characteristic shared by many species. Because of this trait, infants and young individuals generally appear primarily dark back, with a yellow dorsal fin.
In addition, mature individuals display sexual dimorphism in regards to coloring. Firstly, in adult males, the black gets replaced by bright blue. Secondly, mature females appear mainly yellow, with occasional blue spots.
Furthermore, females of this incredible species also tend to a greater length than their male counterparts. That’s because mature females average roughly 51 in (130 cm) in length, while males rarely exceed 37 in (94 cm).
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Actinopterygii
- Order: Anguilliformes
- Family: Muraenidae
- Genus: Rhinomuraena
- Species: R. quaesita
Ribbon Eel Distribution, Habitat, and Ecology
First of all, the dazzlingly colored Ribbon Eel evolved as endemic to a fairly extensive territorial range. In fact, that surprisingly broad range of habitation extends from the waters off East Africa to southern Asia, and Australia.
Also, this truly interesting creature generally prefers to inhabit shallower regions of the ocean. This most commonly consists of regions of coral reefs and lagoons. The animal is rarely seen further out into the ocean.
Although the gorgeous Ribbon Eel tends to be fairly gentle in comparison to some other eels, it often gets mistaken for an aggressive species. This erroneous impression occurs due to the fact that its mouth stays open as if poised to strike. In reality, it does this so that it can breathe.
This amazing ocean creature predominantly feeds as an ambush predator, much like many related species. From its concealment, it swiftly pounces upon its prey which usually mainly consists of either shrimp or small fish.