name = Anguillidae
fossil_range = fossilrange|55|0
Early Eocene to Present [cite journal
last = Sepkoski
first = Jack
authorlink =
coauthors =
title = A compendium of fossil marine animal genera
journal = Bulletins of American Paleontology
volume = 364
issue =
pages = p.560
publisher =
location =
date = 2002
url =
doi =
id =
accessdate = 2007-12-25

image_width = 260px
image_caption = American eel, "Anguilla rostrata"
regnum = Animalia
phylum = Chordata
classis = Actinopterygii
subclassis = Neopterygii
ordo = Anguilliformes
subordo = Anguilloidei
familia = Anguillidae
genus = "Anguilla"
genus_authority = Schrank, 1798
subdivision_ranks = Species
subdivision = See text.

Anguillidae is a family of fishes that contains many of the freshwater eels. There are 16 to 20 species in this family, all in genus "Anguilla". They are catadromous, meaning they spend their lives in freshwater rivers and return to the ocean to spawn. The young eel larvae, called leptocephali, consume plankton close to shore. They grow larger in size, and in their next growth stage are called "glass eels". At this stage they live in tidal estuaries until they reach one year of age, at which they are known as "elvers". Elvers travel upstream in freshwater rivers where they grow to adulthood. Some details of eel reproduction are as yet unknown, and the discovery of major eel spawning grounds in the Sargasso Sea is one of the more famous anecdotes in the history of Ichthyology. See Eel life history.

Freshwater eels are elongate with tubelike, snake-shaped bodies. They have large, pointed heads and their dorsal fins are usually continuous with their caudal fins and anal fins, to form a fringe lining the posterior end of the body. They have small pectoral fins to help them navigate along river bottoms. Their scales are thin and soft.

Anguillid eels are important food fish. Eel aquaculture is a fast-growing industry. Important food eel species include longfin eel, Australian long-finned eel, short-finned eel, and Japanese eel.


* European eel, "Anguilla anguilla" Linnaeus, 1758
* Short-finned eel, "Anguilla australis" Richardson, 1841
* Indian mottled eel, "Anguilla bengalensis bengalensis" Gray, 1831
** African mottled eel, "Anguilla bengalensis labiata" Peters, 1852
* Indonesian shortfin eel, "Anguilla bicolor bicolor" McClelland, 1844
** Indian shortfin eel, "Anguilla bicolor pacifica" Schmidt, 1928
* Celebes longfin eel, "Anguilla celebesensis" Kaup, 1856
* New Zealand longfin eel, "Anguilla dieffenbachii" Gray, 1842
* Highlands longfin eel, ". Anguilla interioris" Whitley, 1938
* Japanese eel, "Anguilla japonica" Temminck & Schlegel, 1847
* Indonesian longfinned eel, "Anguilla malgumora" Kaup, 1856
* Marbled eel, "Anguilla marmorata" Quoy and Gaimard, 1824
* Polynesian longfin eel, "Anguilla megastoma" Kaup, 1856
* African longfin eel, "Anguilla mossambica" Peters, 1852
* Mottled eel, "Anguilla nebulosa" McClelland, 1844
* Pacific shortfinned eel, "Anguilla obscura" Günther, 1872
* Speckled longfin eel, "Anguilla reinhardtii" Steindachner, 1867
* American eel, "Anguilla rostrata" Le Sueur, 1821


* Berra, Tim M. (2001). "Freshwater Fish Distribution". San Diego: Academic Press. ISBN 0-12-093156-7

External links

* [ Australian anguillid aquaculture]

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  • family Anguillidae — noun eels that live in fresh water as adults but return to the sea to spawn • Syn: ↑Anguillidae • Hypernyms: ↑fish family • Member Holonyms: ↑Anguilliformes, ↑order Anguilliformes, ↑order Apodes …   Useful english dictionary

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