The Most Beautiful of the Moray Eels

The ribbon eel is a uniquely beautiful moray eel species and the only member of the genus Rhinomuraena. Also known as the leaf-nosed moray eel or bernis eel, these small eels are recognizable by their long, thin bodies, high dorsal fin, and extended anterior nostrils. They display brightly colored bodies and actually go through different color phases throughout their lives. Juveniles are strikingly beautiful, with black bodies and a bright yellow dorsal fin running their entire length. Male ribbon eels then change to a bright, electric blue color, keeping the yellow dorsal fin, and females change their entire bodies to bright yellow.

You can find ribbon eels swimming amongst the colorful reefs and lagoons of the Indo-Pacific, from East Africa to southern Japan, Australia, and French Polynesia. Although these beautiful eels are relatively small, growing up to one meter in length, they can live up to 20 years in their natural habitat. Ribbon eels are a favorite sighting amongst underwater photographers and videographers. Find out where you are most likely to encounter ribbon eels on your next dive on the dive site map below.