American Eel

Scientific name: Anguilla rostrata

Identification: American eels are freshwater, medium sized, snake-like fish that are about 19.7 inches long on average. They are sexually dimorphic, with the females reaching lengths of up to 4.0 ft and weights of up to 9.0 lbs. American eels are olive-green to brown in color on their backs, and they have a much lighter underside. A long dorsal and anal fin are conjoined to the tail fin.

Habitat: American eels live in marine, estuarine, and freshwater systems. Their range extends along the Atlantic coast from Greenland down to Panama. These eels are active at night, and during the day they would most likely be found hiding under tree snags or rocks along the river.

Overview: American eels are facultative catadromous fish, meaning they spawn in the ocean and then spend the majority of their lives in freshwater rivers. Most eel populations mature in freshwater systems, however, it has recently been found that some eel populations mature solely within estuarine and marine systems. These eels migrate to the Sargasso Sea every year to spawn once they reach sexual maturity at about 5 to 20 years old.


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