Welcome to the Marine Mammal and wildlife Research and Community Development Expedition blog where you can keep up to date with all the happenings and information from Kenya

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Solitary predators of the reefs

Over the last few weeks we’ve been lucky enough to see a variety of eels whilst snorkelling off the reefs of the KMMPA (Kisite-Mpunguti Marine Protected Area). Eels are one of our lesser spotted inhabitants, often hiding in holes and crevasses. So you’ll need a good eye if you want to spot one. They come in various shapes, sizes, colours and patterns; from the Giant Moray to the Spotted Snake Eel, which like the name suggests looks a lot like a snake.

An eel hidden amongst the reefs' crevasses

Hidden away these solitary predators lie in wait, jaws a gasp waiting for any unsuspecting fish, crab or octopus to get that little bit to close and BANG! Dinner is served! With lightning fast reactions the eel grabs its reckless and unsuspecting prey and drags it still wriggling (in a feeble and futile attempt to escape) back down into its deep, dark lair hidden within the coral.
These sinister looking creatures are awesome to watch, their heads protruding from the dark recesses of their makeshift home, slowly rocking back an fourth with the current, watching, waiting and ever vigilant. They’re very cool and sleek predators and if you’re lucky enough to spot one you’ll be glad you’re not a reef fish.