Activities of muraenids, primarilyGymnothorax moringa andMuraena miliaris, were observed on a Caribbean coral reef with a view to further understanding their role in the reef ecosystem. Other muraenid species included in the total of 198 sightings wereEchidna catenata, Enchelycore nigricans, and an unidentified brown moray. The five species were unequally distributed among three basic habitats (sand, coral head, reef rock) available on the reef. Nine particular holes accounted for 52.5% of the total sightings, although hundreds of other seemingly appropriate sites were available. The eels (exceptM. miliaris) were transient with respect to given holes and particular sections of the reef. While someG. moringa were sighted in the same holes for several consecutive days,M. miliaris individuals remained in the same coral heads throughout the 6-week study period. Muraenids observed in this study showed high tolerances for and were tolerated by other fishes (including other morays) and invertebrates on the reef. They appeared to be opportunistic, roving predators and were not strictly nocturnal. Distinct behavioral interactions and displays between muraenids and reef fish were observed.
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Abrams, R.W., Abrams, M.D. & Schein, M.W. Diurnal observations on the behavioral ecology ofGymnothorax moringa (Cuvier) andMuraena miliaris (Kaup) on a Caribbean coral reef. Coral Reefs 1, 185–192 (1983). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00571196
- Coral Reef
- Reef Fish
- High Tolerance
- Behavioral Ecology