Fact Friday

If you are familiar with corals, you may be shocked by these bright colors.  These corals are stressed by warm water and increased UV exposure.  They have expelled their symbiotic algae, responsible for their normal green and brown colors, and soon these coral will be white, indicating they are close to death.  The bright colors come from fluorescent pigments, used as sunscreen now that the algae are no longer shading the coral.  See photos and videos of a bleaching event here.

Credit: Derek Manzello

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Spotted Moray Eel

December 29, 2023

Spotted Moray Eel

How do you eat when you don’t have appendages? Snakes on land have an expandable jaw that allows them to move their jaws forward in order to eat their prey whole. Eels do not have this capability. Eels, like this spotted moray eel (Gymnothorax moringa), have two sets of jaws to help them feed. The oral jaws capture the prey, while the phalangeal jaws reach towards the oral jaws to pull the prey into its throat.

Photo Credit: Andrew Bruckner