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Monday, February 25, 2013

Monday Mischief - Eels!

Last week was a banner week for eels, in our (limited) diving experience. I am especially fond of eels. I kept a class pet American eel in a large tank when I was teaching high school. Once I put about two dozen periwinkle snails in his tank because the water was brackish*. That's when we found out that eels like escargot!

They do look mischievous, don't they? Snakelike shape, wolfish teeth, unblinkingly sinister eyes... 

But as you probably know, eels are not snakes, they are fish. Eels are surprisingly docile and curious. They rarely behave in an aggressive way, and only if  they are feeling threatened. 

Here's a video of me and a large green moray checking each other out. He got bored before I did and swam away.

Eels touch my heart because they are such a unique and diverse group. Their serpentine* swimming style is so graceful, their colors dramatic and often bold. They like to have a small den or hole to peer out of as they watch their underwater community go by.

Green morays are probably my favorite eels. They have sapphire blue eyes and their skin is bright grass-green. We saw several of them in Roatan last week. They are unafraid of people and usually take a good look at divers before swimming on. I chased one with the camera for perhaps 30 seconds and can testify to their speed.They may look like lazy swimmers, but they can go fast when they want to.

We also saw two spotted morays. They are smaller but just as curious.
Not really a mischief-maker!

At the end of a dive as we neared the platform where we remove our fins and stand up, we were surprised to see a sharptail eel! This was the first time we'd seen one and we watched it for a long time. It crept sinuously* through the turtle grass in about 4 feet of water, so we had plenty of sunlight for observing its color pattern. The eel was small, only about 2 feet long, and more timid than the larger eels. He seemed to care only about escaping from all of the attention!

Now you see me...

...soon you won't!

Eels are wonderful fish. The only mischief would be not liking them because of their scary looks!



Kat said...

So cool that you went diving and saw those eels. I love marine wildlife :)

novroz said...

scary eels...but they are less scarier than snake ;)
everytime I read/heard the word eel, it always makes me want to sing a song from my favorite comedy show called The Mighty's about eels inside your body ;)

Amy said...

Me too! We saw so many neat invertebrates too. My camera doesn't take great pictures underwater - the flash isn't strong enough - so I'm getting a new camera before the next trip. My husband had his GoPro and had a blast!

Amy said...

I've never heard of the Mighty Boosh so I'm not familiar with the song. Eels in your body is a scary thought!

Elyse and Riley said...

Beautiful pictures!

Elyse and Riley

Lauren Casper said...

I have to admit -- eels creep me out! haha Only because they look so mean and look so slimy/slithery. I'm sure they're quite friendly in person but I'll leave that to you! ;)

Amy said...

Thank you! Believe me it is tempting to take photos nonstop with so many incredible subjects. Sometimes I don't take the camera along at all so I can just enjoy.

Amy said...

Don't knock it till you've tried it Lauren!!!

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