Daytime hunting behaviour of Echidna catenata (Muraenidae): why chain morays foraging at ebb tide have no followers

Ivan Sazima and Cristina Sazima

aqua, International Journal of Ichthyology, pp. 1-8, Volume 8, Issue 1 – February 2004


The daytime foraging of the chain moray (Echidna catenata) on grapsid crabs on exposed reefs at ebb tide and in tide-pools was studied in the Fernando de Noronha Archipelago, western Equatorial Atlantic (03°50’S, 32°25’W). Four hunting tactics were recorded both in and out of the water: (1) search at pool rims and rock bases, poking into crevices and holes; (2) stealthy approach to previously sighted prey; (3) chasing of prey; (4) ambush from crevices and under rocks. As the chain moray uses varied hunting techniques and its crab hunting is mostly visually guided, its generally unobtrusive foraging attracts little or no attention from tide-pool fishes. Part of the foraging is done out of the water on exposed reefs; fish are therefore unable to follow the moray and take advantage of its hunting activities.

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