Two eels seen in ‘dance of death’ as they mate before dying


Footage shows a pair of fearsome moray eels in a romantic but ultimately tragic relationship as they intertwine while the female lays her eggs, after which both will die.

The eels in the footage are yellow-edged moray eels (Gymnothorax flavimarginatus) involved in the process of mating and it was shot at the Fish Tank Dive Site on the island of the Maldives recently.

Moray eels with their poor eyesight and powerful biting ability have often clashed with humans diving among the reefs and rocks where they like to live, but mostly they steer clear of people and are safe unless threatened.

On this occasion, the nocturnal predators have been tempted out of their hiding places during the day to reproduce.

The female will lay up to 10,000 eggs at a time which are then fertilised by the male in the water once they are laid by the female.

They are no larger than plankton at first but after a year are strong enough to swim down to the bottom and hide among the sand and small rocks. At this stage, they are mostly transparent and only get their darker colour as they grow older.

Although at first sight, it might seem like the two are Involved in a disagreement, this is actually their meeting dance, intertwining and swimming alongside each other.

The adult eels typically die after spawning.

The creator of the video, Rafhan Ahmed, 27, who is a diver and content creator who shares his underwater adventures said: ‘I’ve always been fascinated by the ocean. I’ve enjoyed studying and exploring fish and being underwater with them, being in their natural habitat.’

Rafhan, who is also seen in a video of him with a colony of nurse sharks, said it was ‘surreal, amazing and peaceful all at the same time’.

Even though he swims very close to the sharks he enjoyed the experience, and claims they are not dangerous.

He added: ‘I have never seen a place more fascinating than the underwater. People should not be afraid.’