moray

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moray

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Green moray (Gymnothorax funebris).—Carleton Ray/Photo Researchers

Any of about 80 species (family Muraenidae) of shallow-water eels inhabiting all tropical and subtropical seas. They live among reefs and rocks and hide in crevices. Their skin is thick, smooth, scaleless, and usually vividly marked or coloured. Most species lack pectoral fins. Morays have a wide mouth and strong, sharp teeth for seizing and holding prey (chiefly other fishes). They attack humans only when disturbed. Most species are less than 5 ft (1.5 m) long, but Thyrsoidea macrurus, of the Pacific Ocean, may grow to more than 11 ft (3.5 m). Morays are sometimes eaten, but their flesh may be toxic and can cause illness or death if consumed.

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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