The 200 or so species of eels in the moray family have long fascinated humans. In the time of Julius Caesar, Romans kept their local species as status symbol pets in specially built pools at their Mediterranean villas. One kept thousands, and another held a funeral when his favorite pet died. Today they are popular with divers and snorkelers. Found in tropical and temperate seas around the world, they seize their prey with a unique set of “double jaws” (the second pair being in the pharynx). This species grows to seven feet, and is found in the Tropical Atlantic.
Garden eels are small specialized members of the conger eel family. Found in tropical waters scattered around the world, they lead a hobbit-like existence, each to its own hole, which adults never completely leave, even to spawn or eat. Colonies, which can include hundreds, are situated so currents bring plankton towards them. Their eggs are carried out into the ocean where the larvae travel far. This species is thus found all the way from the Red Sea to Samoa. Their burrows are reinforced with slime secreted from the tail.