Eel (Anguilla Anguilla)

Identification.

Eel (Anguilla Anguilla)

Distintive eel shape but with origin of dorsal fin about a third of the way down the body. Pectoral fin rounded. Lower jaw is longer than the upper, and protrudes beyond it, eye small, a small gill slit in front of pectoral fin.

Eel coloration variable, usually brownish on the back, yellowish on the sides. In maturing (silver) eels the back becomes black and the belly silvery, the eye also increases in size.

Habitat.

Eels inhabit fresh water lakes and rivers, usually buried in mud or lying close to the banks or in tree roots, emerging in the half light. Many eels live in the lower estuaries of rivers and in costal waters on the shore. The young (elvers) are seen in estuaries, migrating upstream.

Food.

Eels and elvers eat bottom living invertabrates (crusteaceans, worms, molluscs and insect larvae), dead fish and other carrion.

Breeding.

Eels migrate to mid Atlantic to spawn. The post larvae migrate across the Atlantic taking about 3 years to reach the coast and 4 years to reach the Mediterranean.

Statistics.

Can be caught in various sizes from very small (boot laces) to specimens of 5lb and over. The current UK Eel record is 11lb 2oz.

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