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The wolf-eel somewhat resembles a moray eel, but it is actually not an eel at all. It is a member of the “wolffish” family. Despite its menacing appearance, this fish is very shy and docile. It does not attack unless provoked. But it can inflict a painful bite with its long sharp teeth. The adult is dark grey to brown in color, while the juvenile is red-orange.
The wolf-eel is native to near-shore rocky reefs and stony bottom areas in the North Pacific from Japan to Southern California. It lives in a cave or crevice where it establishes a den or lair in which it rests during daylight hours. At night the wolf-eel prowls the reef and nearby bottom areas looking for crabs, clams, snails and sea urchins to eat.