Ribbon Eel Facts
- The fantastic looking Ribbon Eel appears to be a most unusual species of eel that evolved as endemic to a highly specific portion of the world.
- This amazing ocean creature predominantly feeds as an ambush predator. From its concealment, it swiftly pounces upon its prey which usually mainly consists of either shrimp or small fish.
- Due to its physical appearance, many believe it to be a member of the moray eel family. However, this remains a miscomprehension.
- Though it rarely lives long in captivity, hunting of them for home aquariums persists. Fortunately, its numbers in the wild appear stable, despite this practice.
Ribbon Eel Physical Description
Many people believe that the brilliantly colored Ribbon Eel bears a strong resemblance to the mythical Chinese Dragon. It possesses a long, thin body.
Fascinatingly, the creature changes colors as it ages. Infants and young individuals generally appear primarily dark back, with a yellow dorsal fin.
Mature individuals display sexual dimorphism in regards to coloring. In adult males, the black gets replaced by bright blue, while females appear mainly yellow, with occasional blue spots.
In addition, females tend to grow much longer. 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
The Dazzlingly bright Ribbon Eel evolved as endemic to a range that extends from the waters off East Africa to southern Asia, and Australia.
It generally prefers to inhabit shallower regions of the ocean. This often includes coral reefs and lagoons.
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.
The Ribbon Eel remains remarkable for one very unique and special reason. All members of the species are born male.
At some point 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 the wild, this species lives for an average of twenty years.