Species Spotlight: American Eels

For a fish that may look unremarkable, American eels are some of the Chesapeake Bay’s most interesting marine residents! 

Published February 08, 2017

At the beginning of every year, thousands of American eel eggs hatch in the Sargasso Sea. Soon after, many "glass eel" juveniles journey to the Chesapeake Bay watershed—an expanse that reaches over 1,400 miles.

American-eel

American eels are the only freshwater eel found in North America, and they’re catadromous—meaning they live in freshwater environments, but migrate to the ocean to spawn.

In the fall months, millions of mature American eels from various estuarine habitats along the Atlantic coast travel back to the Sargasso Sea to spawn. This species has an average life span of five years, with max. lifespans reaching 15 to 20 years.

These snake-like fish range in size from 2 to 5 feet in length. Females are notably larger than their male counterparts.


Listen to this episode of A Blue View to learn more about these fascinating animals!

Previous Post

Featured Stories

Jellies in petri dish Welcome to the Jelly Jungle

Deep inside the Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology (IMET) building, the National Aquarium runs a little-known lab. Here we carry out the propagation of jellies, many of which later end up on exhibit in Jellies Invasion. Read on for a peek into the process!

Read the full story

Cold stunned turtle Cold Stunning: Where, How and Why?

Picture this: You’ve just spent a wonderful, late summer week on Cape Cod, swimming in the ocean and enjoying the sunshine with friends and family. As fall sets in, you know it’s time to head home. You get on the highway, but something strange happens … despite driving for hours, you end up back where you started. You feel sluggish, confused and exhausted. If you were a turtle, you just might be cold-stunned.

Read the full story

Related Stories

Animal Update - March 28

Published March 28, 2014

Animal Updates - December 6

Published December 06, 2013