Moray Spotting in the Maldives

30 Apr 2022

Morays are regular sightings on the reefs of the Maldives, they often feature amongst our divers’ and snorkellers’ holiday snaps. With a large head protruding from the reef and a mouth full of razor sharp teeth opening and closing, they can look quite menacing but morays are fascinating to observe, especially at night when they come out from the reef and can be seen free-swimming as they patrol the reef while hunting for their supper.

Of the estimated 170 species worldwide, about 40 species of moray have been recorded in the Maldives, with just a few being common sightings on the reefs. Morays are carnivorous and use their muscular body to exert their strength and overcome their prey. Although not a direct threat to divers, morays should not be stroked, touched or fed and divers should avoid holding onto the reef with hands near crevices – a nasty nip from a territorial moray will soon make them let go!

Three most commonly sighted morays on our dives:

Black Cheek Moray – common on reef walls and any steep slope with holes, they can usually found to depths of 20 metres and have distinctive black cheeks. These are very territorial and will be aggressive towards divers who dare to put their fingers in their homes – razor sharp teeth result in a painful cut so please keep hands away!

Honeycomb Moray – this striking white species with black blotches, creating a honeycomb pattern, make fantastic subjects for underwater photographers. These can reach up to 2 metres in length and have been known to be inquisitive and swim towards divers, sometimes wrapping themselves around their equipment or their shoulders like an extravagant scarf – should this happen, there is nothing to be afraid of, simply stay as still as possible, avoid sudden movements and if you’re lucky someone will get a photo and you’ll have an experience of a lifetime to remember!

Giant Moray – simply huge, their body can reach over 2 metres and they can weight up to 30kg! They are a brown/grey colour with numerous black spots on the top of the head. These can often be seen with their mouth open wide whilst getting a dental clean up by cleaner wrasse eating tasty morsels trapped there.

Amongst others that can be seen more infrequently on the dive sites are the White-mouth Moray and Yellow-mouth Moray, as their names suggest, they are easily identifiable due to the distinctive coloration of the inside of the mouth.

Join a night dive or night snorkel adventure to optimise your chances of seeing morays swimming along the reef – come into the dive center to find out more!