Seasnake vs. Moray Eel…not what I was expecting

In the below video a seasnake catches a moray eel at Giant Clam, Puerto Galera, Mindoro, Philippines.  I believe the eel is a fimbriated moray, Gymnothorax fimbriatus which can reach lengths of of about 2.5 feet and apparently can make a fetching design for a dress. The sea snake appears to be the banded sea krait, Laticauda colubrina. Females can reach lengths of 4.5 feet.

Wait for the M. Night Shyamalan twist ending.

Dr. M (1618 Posts)

Craig McClain is the Assistant Director of Science for the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, created to facilitate research to address fundamental questions in evolutionary science. He has conducted deep-sea research for 11 years and published over 40 papers in the area. He has participated in dozens of expeditions taking him to the Antarctic and the most remote regions of the Pacific and Atlantic. Craig’s research focuses mainly on marine systems and particularly the biology of body size, biodiversity, and energy flow. He focuses often on deep-sea systems as a natural test of the consequences of energy limitation on biological systems. He is the author and chief editor of Deep-Sea News, a popular deep-sea themed blog, rated the number one ocean blog on the web and winner of numerous awards. Craig’s popular writing has been featured in Cosmos, Science Illustrated, American Scientist, Wired, Mental Floss, and the Open Lab: The Best Science Writing on the Web.





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14 comments on “Seasnake vs. Moray Eel…not what I was expecting
  1. I wrote a paper in Journal of Fish Biology on Moray Eels when I researched them in New Zealand. Love eels especially moray eels. I used to knock them out with clove oil and then put acoustic tags inside of them. I always used to think of hte parralels between alien abductions and what I was doing because I literally woudl be a bright shining love coming from above, taking them to a ship, knocking them out, putting things up there anus (acoustic tag), and then freeing them again to observe them.

    Anyway I digress. They were tough as old boots and it’s no suprise to me that the moray made a comeback. I read a paper during the time that there were many moray eel species that would consume snakes and what they would do is get bitten by them to build up resistance to the poisen. I almost wonder if that was what the eel was doing?

  2. I think the snake gave up partly because that was entirely too large of a meal for him. He was right to regurge, that meal was waaay too big, not to mention his venom wasn’t having much of an effect. Kudos to the Moray on that, Krait venom is pretty potent. Not to mention, the Moray bite is nothing to screw around with and that meal was definitely still chomping back.

  3. I’m surprised the eel was so slow respording. What chance the snake would run out of O2 with a struggle like that? Those eels do have a good set of dentures as the snake discovered. SU comes to mind?

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  7. I wonder too if the moray’s skin is just too thick for the snakes fangs to get through to deliver a good dose. We’ll never know, but I guess the lesson here is “Never give up” :-)

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