Habitat and Ecology
This species tends to be site attached; individuals have been known to stay in the same hole for months or even years. Juveniles are found individually, but it is not uncommon to find more than one male in the same area. In some cases, males will even share the same hole within the sandy substrate. During the day, individuals feed on small fishes that pass close to the burrow entrance.
Rhinomuraena quaesita has several characteristics that have lead experts to suggest that it should be placed in its own family — the Rhinomuraenidae; these include the positioning of its kidneys and most of its reproductive organs posterior to the anus (a unique condition that has not been reported in any other vertebrate) (Michael 1998).
This species is a protandrous hermaphrodite, i.e., all females are derived from males that have changed sex.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 1 sample.
Depth range (m): 1 - 7.5
Temperature range (°C): 26.890 - 26.890
Nitrate (umol/L): 0.139 - 0.139
Salinity (PPS): 35.310 - 35.310
Oxygen (ml/l): 4.636 - 4.636
Phosphate (umol/l): 0.165 - 0.165
Silicate (umol/l): 1.162 - 1.162
Depth range (m): 1 - 7.5
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From 1 to 57 meters.
Habitat: reef-associated. Occurs in lagoon and seaward reefs. Feeds on small fishes. Secretive species normally hidden in sand or rubble, sometimes with only its head protruding (Ref. 9710). Only moray that undergoes abrupt changes in coloration and sex: it is a protandrous hermaphrodite, i.e., functioning males reverse sex to become females.
Life History and Behavior
Molecular Biology and Genetics
Barcode data: Rhinomuraena quaesita
Below is a sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.
See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen and other sequences.
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Download FASTA File
Statistics of barcoding coverage: Rhinomuraena quaesita
Public Records: 7
Specimens with Barcodes: 7
Species With Barcodes: 1
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems
The ribbon eel (Rhinomuraena quaesita) or Bernis eel, is a species of moray eel, the only member of the genus Rhinomuraena. What is now known as Rhinomuraena quaesita also includes the former Rhinomuraena amboinensis. R. quaesita was used for blue ribbon eels and R. amboinensis for black ribbon eels, but these are now recognized as the same species,. The ribbon eel is native to the Indo-Pacific ocean.
The ribbon eel is an elegant creature bearing a resemblance to a mythical Chinese dragon with a long, thin body and high dorsal fins. The ribbon eel can easily be recognised by its expanded anterior nostrils. Juveniles and sub-adults are jet black with a yellow dorsal fin, while females are yellow with a black anal fin with white margins on the fins. The adult males are blue with a yellow dorsal fin.
The ribbon eel grows to an overall length of approximately 1 m (3.3 ft), and has a life span of up to thirty years or more. The ribbon eel is the only moray eel that is protandric.
In the aquarium
Because most ribbon eels do not live longer than a month in captivity, some feel that this species should never be purchased except for people with experience in keeping morays in captivity. Ribbon eels have been observed in many cases to stop eating after being captured, although there are reports of them surviving and eating in captivity for 2 years or more.
With proper sized tanks, water flow, and depth of proper sand they can be kept for much longer in pairs. When keeping these it is critical that there is large amount of decor and large caves of rock or PVC piping to make them feel safe or else they will stress and die in the aforementioned manner. These morays can sometimes be able to be trained to eat inanimate foods by waving pieces of meat on snake feeding tongs. In some many cases fin-niping is a problem for obvious reasons.
- "Rhinomuraena quaesita". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 19 March 2006.
- Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2005). "Rhinomuraena quaesita" in FishBase. November 2005 version.
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