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Anguillidae - Freshwater Eels

Unlike other eels, the members of this family have scales. They have a long dorsal fin that runs from the middle of their back to their tail. They have an anal fin that runs from the middle of their stomach to the tip of their tail and small, rounded pectoral fins just behind their gills.
 

Classification

 Kingdom: Animalia 
 Phylum: Chordata
 Superclass: Osteichthyes
 Class: Actinopterygii
 Order: Anguilliformes
 Family: Anguillidae
 

american eelMost freshwater eels are catadromous, that means they live in freshwater and migrate downstream to spawn in the ocean. Young eels live in the ocean or in estuaries until they are around a year old. One-year-old eels are called elvers. Elvers return to rivers to grow to adulthood.

The American eel is the only native freshwater eel found in North America. American eels are found in rivers in the eastern United States. Every winter mature American eels migrate to the Sargasso Sea near Bermuda to spawn. The adults probably die after spawning. Most American eel elvers return to inland rivers when they are a year old. Females may travel well inland; males usually stay near river mouths or in estuaries. Just recently scientists discovered that not all American eel elvers return to freshwater to mature. Some stay in marine or estuarine habitats. American eels are now described as displaying facultative catadromy. That means they can be found in freshwater or saltwater during maturation.

American eels can be as much as 15 years old when they spawn. Female American eels can grow to be 4 feet long; males are around 1.5 feet long.

World Status Key
Least ConcernLeast Concern Near ThreatenedNear Threatened VulnerableVulnerable EndangeredEndangered Critically EndangeredCritically Endangered extinct in the wildExtinct in Wild extinctExtinct Not Enough DataNot Enough Data
Status and range is taken from ICUN Redlist.

U.S. Status Key
Threatened in US Threatened in US Endangered in US Endangered in US Introduced Introduced
Status taken from US Fish and Wildlife. Click on U.S. status icon to go to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife species profile.
  New Hampshire Status Key
Threatened in New Hampshire Threatened in NH Endangered in NH Endangered in NH Breeds in NH Breeds in NH (birds)
Status taken from NH Fish and Game

Location Key
Africa Africa Asia Asia Australia Australia/Oceania Europe Europe North America North America South America South America New Hampshire Species NH More Info Click for More Info picture Click for Image

  New Hampshire Species

 

 North/Central American Species

American Eel - Anguilla rostrata Endangered North America South America New Hampshire Species image More Info

   

Other Species Around the World

European Eel - Anguilla anguilla Critically Endangered Africa Asia Europe image More Info
Short-finned Eel - Anguilla australis Australia More Info
Indian Mottled Eel - Anguilla bengalensis Near Threatened Asia More Info
Indonesian Shortfin Eel - Anguilla bicolor Near Threatened Asia More Info
Indonesian Longfin Eel - Anguilla borneensis Vulnerable Asia More Info
Celebes Longfin Eel - Anguilla celebesensis Near Threatened Asia More Info
New Zealand Longfin Eel - Anguilla dieffenbachii Australia image More Info
Highlands Long-finned Eel - Anguilla interioris Not Enough Data Australia Asia More Info

 

Japanese Eel - Anguilla japonica Endangered Asia image More Info
Philippine Mottled Eel - Anguilla luzonensis Near Threatened Asia More Info
Marbled Eel - Anguilla marmorata Least Concern Africa Asia image More Info
Polynesian Longfin Eel - Anguilla megastoma Not Enough Data Asia Australia More Info
African Longfin Eel - Anguilla mossambica Least Concern Africa More Info
Long-finned Eel - Anguilla nebulosa Africa Asia More Info
Pacific Shortfin Eel - Anguilla obscura Not Enough Data Australia More Info

Additional Information

Resource Key
profile Profile Photos Photos Video Video Audio Audio

American Eel - Anguilla rostrata Endangered profile Photos North America South America New Hampshire Species
The American eel spawns in the Atlantic Ocean and moves into streams and rivers in North and South America.
Source: Arkive Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School Teacher Section: Yes

American Eel - Anguilla rostrata Endangered profile Photos North America South America New Hampshire Species
The American eel is found from Greenland to Brazil.
Source: US Fish and Wildlife Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School Teacher Section: No

American Eel - Anguilla rostrata Endangered profile Photos North America South America New Hampshire Species
The American eel larvae spends up to a year in the ocean, drifting in the ocean currents.
Source: North American Native Fishes Association Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School Teacher Section: No

European Eel - Anguilla anguilla profile Photos Critically Endangered Africa Asia Europe
The European eel is found on the floor of the ocean or river in which it is living.
Source: Animal Diversity Web Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School Teacher Section: Yes

Indonesian Shortfin Eel - Anguilla bicolor profile Near Threatened Asia Australia
Indonesian shortfin eels live in fresh water areas as an adult and in estuaries and seas as young
Source: Fish Base Intended Audience: General Reading Level: High School Teacher Section: No

Japanese Eel - Anguilla japonica profile Photos Endangered Asia
Japanese eels may crawl over land at night from one place to another.
Source: Fish Base Intended Audience: General Reading Level: High School Teacher Section: No

Marbled Eel - Anguilla marmorata profile Photos Least Concern Africa Asia
Marbled eels have well developed and fleshy lips.
Source: USGS Non indigenous Aquatic Species Database Intended Audience: General Reading Level: Middle School Teacher Section: No

Pacific Shortfin Eel - Anguilla obscura profile Photos Not Enough Data Australia
The Pacific shortfin eel is found from western New Guinea and Queensland, Australia to the Society Islands.
Source: Fish Base Intended Audience: General Reading Level: High School Teacher Section: No

Polynesian Longfin Eel - Anguilla megastoma profile Photos Not Enough Data Asia Australia
The Polynesian longfin eel is found in rocky pools, often in coastal streams.
Source: Fish Base Intended Audience: General Reading Level: High School Teacher Section: No

Short-finned Eel - Anguilla australis profile Photos Australia
Short-finned eels are found in streams, lakes, and swamps.
Source: Fish Base Intended Audience: General Reading Level: High School Teacher Section: No

Indian Mottled Eel - Anguilla bengalensis profile Photos Near Threatened Asia
The Indian mottled eel is found in Pakistan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Burma, Bangladesh, and the East Indies.
Source: Fish Base Intended Audience: General Reading Level: High School Teacher Section: No

Mottled Eel - Anguilla nebulosa profile Africa Asia
The mottled eel is found from East Africa to Indonesia.
Source: Fish Base Intended Audience: General Reading Level: High School Teacher Section: No

Indonesian Longfin Eel - Anguilla borneensis profile Vulnerable Asia
Indonesian longfin eels are found in Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines.
Source: Fish Base Intended Audience: General Reading Level: High School Teacher Section: No

Celebes Longfin Eel - Anguilla celebesensis profile Near Threatened Asia
Celebes longfin eels are found in Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines.
Source: Fish Base Intended Audience: General Reading Level: High School Teacher Section: No

Highlands Long-finned Eel - Anguilla interioris profile Not Enough Data Australia Asia
Highland longfin eels are found in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.
Source: Fish Base Intended Audience: General Reading Level: High School Teacher Section: No

African Longfin Eel - Anguilla mossambica profile Photos Least Concern Africa
African longfin eels are found in rivers on the east coast of Africa and on Madagascar. They can be found well inland.
Source: Fish Base Intended Audience: General Reading Level: High School Teacher Section: No

Philippine Mottled Eel - Anguilla luzonensis profile Photos Near Threatened Asia
Philippine mottled eels are found in the Philippines.
Source: Fish Base Intended Audience: General Reading Level: High School Teacher Section: No

New Zealand Longfin Eel - Anguilla dieffenbachii profile Photos Australia
The New Zealand longfin eel is found in lakes and rivers in New Zealand.
Source: Fish Base Intended Audience: General Reading Level: High School Teacher Section: No