European Eel Numbers Plummeted by 90%

europeaneelScientific Classification:
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Anguilliformes
Family: Anguillidae
Genus: Anguilla
Species: A. anguilla

European Eels are a snake-like fish that’s usually between 1-1.5 meters in length.

They partake in a 3-year long migration, originally spawning in the Saragasso sea then heading towards Europe.

By the time they enter estuaries in Europe, they are considered to be “glass eels”, I suppose because they are see-thru mostly.

europeaneel2When they enter those freshwater estuaries and river systems, they undergo a pigment change, where their underbellies turn yellow, making it more difficult for predators to notice them when swimming underneath them.

They are also covered in a slimy coating, which is believed to protect them from changes of salt-content in the water.

Conservation Status:
The European eel is Critically Endangered! If you capture one in the water, please don’t remove it. Release it as quickly as possible.

Their numbers have declined by at least 90%, possibly up to 98%, since the 1970s.

It is not for certain, but all of these factors contribute somewhat to their demise: overfishing (an important food source), parasites, man-made river barriers, changes in the Gulf Stream, North Atlantic Drift and North Atlantic oscillation.


I hope you found this Fish post informational on Exotic Animal Lover! Until next time…

Live Exotically,

Kimberly Edwards :)

P.S. For more information regarding the European Eel spawning and migration, check out this book:

Spawning Migration of the European Eel: Reproduction Index, a Useful Tool for Conservation Management Spawning Migration of the European Eel: Reproduction Index, a Useful Tool for Conservation Management

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One Response
  1. Wow – That’s so sad! Critically endangered…such a shame!

    …Not that eels are my favorite animal, particularly, but they are one of God’s creatures…


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