White Eyed Moray Eel Koh Tao
Learn about the White Eyed Moray Eel on Koh Tao
White Eyed Moray Eels are always exciting to see when scuba diving or snorkeling around Koh Tao.
You will often see White Eyed Moray Eels looking out of small openings around the reef with their mouth gaping open showing off their teeth or if you are lucky you can see them swimming around.
Where to find the White Eyed Moray Eel on Koh Tao
White Eyed Moray Eels can be found at many of the dive sites around Koh Tao, although they prefer dive sites with lots of coral or rocks to hide in.
Popular locations to see them include Twins Pinnacle, White Rock, Mango Bay and Japanese Gardens.
How to identify the White Eyed Moray Eel
A White Eyed Moray Eel has a prominent deep purple-grey coloured face, bright white eyes and they have poor eyesight.
This species of marine animal can usually grow to approximately 40cm in length with the larger males reaching up to 65cm and they are often a pale yellow-brown colour with a scattering of smaller brown spots.
Like all fish, a White Eyed Moray Eel has to breathe by using water movement through their gills.
Instead of spending their time swimming around to achieve this, they tend to hide in small crevices pointing themselves upstream with their mouth gaping open.
White Eyed Moray Eel Characteristics & Behaviour
White Eyed Moray Eels are carnivorous and their diet mostly consists of various fish, squid and other crustaceans.
Additionally, a White Eyed Moray Eel will engage in a rare activity known as co-operative hunting, which lucky for us is quite a common sight around many of the Koh Tao dive sites.
Moray Eels will work together with a different species as a team in order to be more efficient in their hunting efforts.
You may see various species including Trevally and Grouper surrounding a section of coral trapping in smaller fish, whilst the moray eel swims through the smaller gaps.
The moray benefits as the prey are reluctant to try and escape whilst the other fish catch anything that dares to make a run for it.
White Eyed Moray Eels are typically a nocturnal species, which means the best chance you get to see them swimming around is on a night dive and White Rock is one of the best dive sites to see them.
As frightening or as intimidating as a White Eyed Moray Eel may look their best friends on the coral reef are actually the cleaner shrimp.
This type of moray eel will regularly search for a cleaning station and form a symbiotic relationship.
White Eyed Moray Eels carry lots of parasites and a cleaner shrimp will clean their jaws and enjoy a free ocean buffet, whilst the moray eel comes out of the arrangement very clean.
Interesting facts about the White Eyed Moray Eel
White Eyes Moray Eels have two (2) Jaws and they have razor sharp teeth that grow backward to prevent anything from escaping and their second jaw is known as a pharyngeal jaw.
When a moray eel bites it uses the outer jaw to clamp hold of the prey while the second jaw moves forward to bite again and pull the prey further into the mouth.
White Eyed Moray Eels are not the best when it comes to parenting due to them leaving their eggs to hatch alone and survive for themselves.
The lack of proper parenting means a lot of juvenile Moray Eels do not survive for very long however, they lay up to 60,000 eggs at a time.