The Moray Eel and Star Wars

If looks could kill! Well, if they could, the Moray Eel would be one of the most murderous creatures in the sea, but honestly they’re just cursed with a menacing look meant to intimidate predators and divers alike. They’re rather docile and shy if you aren’t overly aggressive. It’s a natural reaction of divers and snorkelers to be frightened when they see the gaping jaws of Moray, not understanding it must continually open and close its mouth to move water over their gills. So what we see as menacing is actually the eel breathing to stay alive. When filming the Moray you get a sense of their privacy bubble by their physical behavior (if you get too close they slink back into their cave but then reappear moments later just to show they haven’t backed down). Once you’ve established a relationship of trust it’s great — you can anchor yourself on the reef and observe it as it does the same to you.  I’ve only seen a Moray Eel swimming out in the open water a couple times. They aren’t the most graceful swimmers, but they manage get the job done. And, although I’ve never seen it happen, they are one of the few species of fish who can actually swim backwards. This next part is going to be kind of weird, and I’m not sure why I think this way, but whenever I see a Moray Eel I feel like I’m in an underwater “Star Wars” movie and I just met up with a character from the dreaded Galactic Empire – His name… “Darth Moray.” Also, the moment it pops its head out of a crack in the reef and its jaws start gaping, Darth Vader’s “The Imperial March” kicks on inside my head.  I know, super nerdy, but every time I see one that’s what happens in my head. So humor me and try this – then please tell me if it doesn’t go through your head the next time you have an encounter with a Moray Eel! Start “The Imperial March” video below, then start the Moray Eel video below it. Every character needs a theme song and I just found one for Darth Moray! It’s actually a remix because the Moray is also known as the “Gangster of the Reef.” And remember…the Moray Eel is not really on the dark side of the force…just don’t put your hands in any cracks and test him.


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