Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Creature Feature #192: Eel

The European Eel is one of approximately 800 species of fish characterised by their long, slender bodies and belonging to the Order Anguilliformes. In her adult form, she is found in freshwater and, as early fisherman had never caught a baby eel, her life history was a mystery for centuries. Now it is known that her life begins in the ocean, as a tiny translucent larvae before entering freshwater and developing into a elver, a miniature version of the adult eel. She returns to the ocean one final time, to spawn and then dies. This life cycle is mirrored in numerous other freshwater eel species, including the New Zealand Longfin Eel. The European Eel was once widespread and often a favoured food, she is now listed as Critically Endangered and her wild population has dramatically decreased, pushing her to the edge of extinction.

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