To knot or not? Novel feeding behaviours in moray eels

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© 2015, Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.We report observations of a novel feeding behaviour in the moray eel Gymnothorax favagineus (Bloch & Schneider, 1801) and a previously undocumented application of “knotting” behaviour in G. fimbriatus (Bennett, 1832). Moray eels were filmed by baited remote underwater video systems (BRUVS) at the Scott Reefs, a remote group of atoll-like reefs on the edge of the continental shelf in tropical, northwestern Australia. Two behaviours were observed as the moray eels tried to dislodge food from a bait bag: (1) G. favagineus used its tail as a “paddle” to gain leverage on the bag, and (2) G. fimbriatus tied a knot in its tail in order to extract food from the bag. Our observations suggest that morays have an extensive behavioural repertoire for manipulating and extracting large prey items from the interstices of the reefs where they typically hunt.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)703-705
Number of pages3
JournalMarine Biodiversity
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2016


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