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Species: Anguilla rostrata, American Eel

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mouth ends under eye, thick lips
adult - small, embedded scales
teeth - minute, in bands
large pectorals



Anguilla rostrata (Lesueur, 1817)

American Eel

Body robust; tail compressed; mouth reaching to under rear edge of eye; lower jaw projecting; lips thick, with flanges along sides of jaws; teeth small, granular, in broad bands on jaws and a front of roof of mouth; dorsal fin origin well behind pectoral fin, nearer to anus than to pectoral fin; dorsal and anal fins continuous with tail fin; large pectoral fins; lateral line complete but pores very small; small imbedded scales arranged in basket-weave pattern present in adults but not juveniles.

Mature fish bicolored, black above, white below, with a silvery to bronze sheen.

Reaches 150 cm, at least 3.63 kg.

Adults in rivers and estuaries.

Depth 0-4000 m.

Greenland to Venezuela.

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  • Brackish
  • Freshwater
  • Marine
  • Inshore
  • Inshore Only
Water Column Position
  • Bottom
  • Bottom only
  • Soft bottom (mud/sand/gravel/beach/estuary/mangrove/seagrass)
  • Estuary
  • Freshwater
  • Mangrove
  • Mud
FishBase Habitat
  • Demersal
Feeding Group
  • Carnivore
  • Data
  • Data
  • Bony fishes
  • Insects
  • Mobile benthic crustacea (shrimps/crabs)
  • Mobile benthic gastropods/bivalves
  • Mobile benthic worms
Egg Type
  • Data
  • Pelagic
  • Pelagic larva
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • Greater Caribbean non-endemic
  • West Atlantic Endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Continent
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Extends North of GC
  • GC non-endemic
  • Island (s)
  • All species
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (0-10N, Costa Rica / Venezuela)
  • Subtropical (23-35N, Florida / Carolinas / Bermuda)
  • Temperate (>35N)
  • Tropical (10-23N, Nicaragua / Cuba)
IUCN Red List
  • Endangered
  • Listed
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 150
Depth Range Min
  • 0
Depth Range Max
  • 4000