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Blue Ribbon


While diving in Thailand, I came across this Blue Ribbon Eel, sticking its head out of a small opening in the coral and waiving in the current.  Ribbon eels are actually a species of moray eel. Depending on the stage of the ribbon eel’s life it may appear black, blue and or yellow. They are only about 1/2 inch in diameter but grow up to 3 feet in length. Ribbon eels are (sequential) hermaphrodites.  They all start off as male and are black with a yellow dorsal fin. As they mature, the male eels turn mostly bright blue with yellow accents around the mouth and on the dorsal fin. The changes don’t stop there. After the male’s body reaches a certain length, it begins to turn yellow and will develop female parts until it is able to lay eggs.  Ribbon eels tend to live in lagoons or coastal reefs throughout the Indian and Pacific Oceans, from East Africa to French Polynesia, as far north as southern Japan, and south to Australia and New Caledonia.


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