Blue Ribbon Eels

( Rhinomuraena quaesita )

Like many eels, the ribbon eel is sometimes thought to be angry or aggressive, because its mouth is often open, appearing ready to strike. In reality, the eel is simply breathing. The ribbon eel is known as one of the most sociable and peaceful of all moray eels, and does not bother humans or get easily irritated.

The ribbon eel is an elegant creature with a long, thin body and high dorsal fins. Many feel that it resembles a brightly colored party streamer. The ribbon eel can easily be recognized by its expanded anterior nostrils. The adult male can be black, fluorescent blue with yellow highlights, blue-green, or brilliant yellow.

The ribbon eel grows to an overall length of approximately 36 in., and has a life span of up to twenty years. In the wild, the ribbon eel buries itself in sand or hides in rocks or reefs, dashing out to feed on small fishes. As the eel grows and gets older, it changes sex from a male to a female. The ribbon eel also changes its color from blue to yellow when it becomes fully mature (& female).