Dwarf moray eel

Dwarf Moray eel

I was watching some fish in fairly shallow water when, below them, I noticed this eel tucked away in a groove in the rock. It looked different to anything I’d seen before, but often the young of a species can look very different to the adults. However, a browse through my fish book showed it’s a dwarf moray eel, which doesn’t grow to more than 12 inches long. The clinching feature, which can be seen in this photo, is the dark bar through its eye.

Dwarf morays are fairly common in Hawaii, but because of their size and their reclusive nature they’re not often seen. This was as far as this eel emerged from of its hiding place so I was happy to get this shot.

I think the pinkish pincushion next to it is a rock-boring urchin, which gets its name from the fact that it can bore into solid rock by scraping with its spines and teeth. A second of these urchins can be seen in the little recess below the main one.

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