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Old 18-05-2003, 05:02 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Port Moresby
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DISTRIBUTION: Tropical seas
HABITAT: Coral reefs, rocky reefs
HAZARD: Sharp teeth, unpredictable behaviour, poisonous to eat
SIZE: 2m (7ft)

REMARKS: Superficially similar in colouration to the giant moray, the leopard moray has a yellow edging along its dorsal fin. It is found throughout South-East Asia, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, across Northern Australian reefs and down into the South Pacific.

The leopard moray always has a spot, or patch at the gill opening. Commonly hand-fed by divers throughout tropical oceans, this species can be gentle but has geen responsible for many accidental injuries to humans, Moray eels have a very well-developed sense of smell and will try to eat what they smell as fish.

Even though a diver has fed the eel and there is no food left, it can still smell it in the water. If the strongest scent comes from the hand that held the fish, 'hand feeding' justifies its name.

If feeding morays is your thing, take care and use something less vulnerable than your hand, preferably with adequate helpings of common sense.
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