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What Type Of Animal Is A Ribbon Eel?
Ribbon eels are also known as blue ribbon eels and they are a species of moray eels. The ribbon eel is the only protandric hermaphrodite eel, meaning they are capable of changing sex to female if there is a shortage of females in the environment.

Where Can Ribbon Eels Be Found?
The ribbon eel’s habitat mainly consists of warm lagoons and coastal reefs in the Indo-Pacific Ocean and the offshore islands of Western Australia and the Great Barrier Reef.

How Do Ribbon Eels Look Like?
The males range from 63 – 91 cm in size, and the females can reach up to 132 cm, so, compared to the other species of ribbon eels they are of medium size. They have a long slender body with high dorsal fins.
All ribbon eels start off as male and the juveniles and subadults are jet black in colour with a yellow dorsal fin. When maturing, the body of the male ribbon eels changes to a bright electric blue colour with some yellow patches around their mouths, while the dorsal fin remains yellow. Once the male’s body reaches a certain length, it starts turning lemon yellow and will develop female parts until it is able to lay eggs. There are also ghost ribbon eels, also known as white ribbon eels.

Who Do Ribbon Eels Live With?
Ribbon eels are known to bury themselves in the crevices of the reef. Their slender bodies allow them to fit in seemingly impossible places. Male ribbon eels are not territorial in nature and therefore stay with other males for a long period of time, sharing the same cavers for months or even years without changing places. The juveniles usually live on their own.

What Does A Ribbon Eel Eat?
The ribbon eel is a carnivore which preys on small fish, shrimp and other animals that swim too close to their hole. They do not prey on big fishes and eat only small fish species that are easy to catch.
Blue ribbon eels stay hidden amongst rock and rubble, waving their heads and anterior bodies in wait for the prey who frequent the lagoons. Also they use their nostrils to sense the different types of vibrations in the water in order to help them hunt and defend themselves.

How Do They Reproduce?
The method in which ribbon eels reproduce is known to be very peculiar. The male and female ribbon eels come across each other only once. After they mated, the female lays leaf- like eggs and dies within a month. After changing colours (meaning: sexes) the newly female ribbon eel will find a mate, lay their eggs, and die within a month. It is due to their short lifespan that the female ribbon eels are rarely observed The eggs float for around eight weeks in the water before hatching and turning into ribbon eel larvae.

How Long Does A Ribbon Eel Live?
The lifespan of a ribbon eel is about 20 years in the wild, while their lifespan reduces drastically when kept in captivity.

How Do They Communicate?
Ribbon eel communication is mostly through touch and chemical stimulation. The chemical is released by them in the water which is further detected by the same species and then they read it by creating a reaction. Ribbon eel noises are said to be a high-pitch click that last for a few seconds.

What’s The Ribbon Eels Major Threats?
The major threat for ribbon eels is the aquarium trade. Ribbon eels are very sought after for keeping as a pet in a saltwater aquarium back home. Unfortunately, in captivity they won’t live for very long, so the demand for them keeps rising, while the prices range to up to 500$ per animal.

Where to find

South-Malé Atoll
Raa Atoll
South Malé Atoll
Divepoint Dive Center Hudhuran Fushi
North Malé Atoll
Hudhuran Fushi
Gnaviyani Atoll
North Malé Atoll