Nov 4, 2007

A Very Interesting Life

You're looking into the face of the ribbon eel. This subset of the moray eel clan leads a very interesting life. For one, they are known to be the most sociable and peaceful of the morays (not that that's saying much...). But get this: they start out blue and male. But as they mature, they become yellow and female.

I know there is some witty parallel I can make between this eel and humankind, but it escapes me. Maybe one of you can help.

Thanks for the links, Peer.

Photo source: Tulamben Wreck Divers

Photo source: dkimages


Nebulous Grey said...

Maybe it's because I'm in a ridiculously boring class right now, but I'm finding this insanely interesting. Like, google-it-and-spend-the-rest-of-class-reading-up-on-it interesting.

So cool.

Arachnophile said...

LOL, Neb: My grades took a beating in my last year of grad-school because we got wireless in all the lecture rooms… It was exactly the same situation. ;)

Okay so the face ornamentation is a bit much but those colours are AMAZING, whatever sex they are. I can’t help it, it makes me think of a dragon.

There are a few fish species that can do sex-change thing. Producing eggs is soooo much more work, it pays to have some mass and experience behind ya! Personally, I take it as another sign of the superiority of my gender. ;p Kidding!

Jack Ruttan said...

"When the fish eats your eye
and you think you might die ...
That's a moray! "

I wonder what the cool facial suckers are used for?

Anonymous said...

Ah, the ribbon eel. I've always found them cute in a zany way.
The "facial suckers" are the eel's nostrils, if you mean the two huge tubercles on its snout. There are four smaller projections on its face (one between the nostril and three on the chin). If I had to guess their function, I'd say they're sensitive to touch (like whiskers). Alternatively (though less likely), they might be indicators of water current (like the fish's lateral line) or detect electrical activity indicating that an organism is moving nearby.

Anonymous said...

They are also notoriously impossible to keep in an aquarium.

I have never known anyone who was not a professional who successfully kept one. I'm sure it happens, but they are famous for it.