ribbon eel

A ribbon eel, also called a ribbon moray. Image taken at the California Academy of Sciences.

This interesting looking fish is a ribbon eel. Those big membranes on its face are its nostrils, which also act as a lure to attract prey to their sharp-toothed jaws. When it snaps its jaw shut, it recoils into its burrow. They will also use their burrows to hide when they are threatened. I can tell that this is a juvenile or a small adult male because of its coloration. Adult males will have a yellow snout and females are yellow, with a little white and black on their fins. Females are comparatively rare and not seen often. None of these fish are born females-all of them are born as males. This is another sex changing fish that changes from male to female.

ribbon eel

A ribbon eel. Image taken at the California Academy of Sciences.