Just keep swimming, little one.

This wavy sheet of nothingness is actually a baby moray eel. 

Morays start out life as an extremely thin, nearly-transparent larva called a leptocephalus, which literally means ‘small-headed’. They are adorably pathetic, really.

The whole point of the leptocephalus is to go places. Adult morays are generally poor swimmers, so they spend most of their time bumming around and being adorable, and they rarely stray far from home. But as leptocephali, young morays take to the high seas, allowing the currents to carry their frail and fragile bodies to distant lands reefs. 

Over generations, this childhood wanderlust has allowed morays to disperse across most of the Pacific, while maintaining close population relatedness over such great distances.

Video source: Kanaal

Reference: Reece et al. 2010.


Garden eels, members of the conger eel family, live in the Indo-Pacific, but species are also found in warmer parts of the Atlantic Ocean and East Pacific. These small eels live in burrows on the sea floor and get their name from their practice of poking their heads from their burrows while most of their bodies remain hidden. Since they tend to live in groups, the many eel heads “growing” from the sea floor resemble the plants in a garden.