Explore A Stream: You Might Find An American Eel

Post Correction: I made a mistake! We did not find  an American eel. In fact we found several lampreys!

On a recent hike along a stream (Maryland USA / March) we found several young American eels (Anguilla rostrata) swimming around.

I did a little research on these eels and discovered that the females lay their eggs in the Sargasso Sea. That’s a long way away from Maryland. Apparently all eels spawn in the Sargasso Sea. The eggs hatch into a larvae and are carried by ocean currents to areas along the Atlantic coast. They are called glass eels because they are transparent at this time. Next they make their way into freshwater rivers and streams. When they begin to get some color they are referred to as elvers. When they reach 4 inches they are called Yellow eels. Yellow eels can stay in fresh water for many years. Eventually they making their way back out to sea to spawn and die.

Eels can produce slime. The slime coat protects it from disease. (This is not an American eel as it turns out but a lamprey!

We promptly returned this guy to the stream after a quick photo shoot.

Read more here: http://www.agmrc.org/media/cms/AmericanEel_42EA03380CDE9.pdf

Or here: http://www.dnr.state.md.us/fisheries/fishfacts/eel.asp

2 thoughts on “Explore A Stream: You Might Find An American Eel

  1. Jennifer

    Wow! I didn’t know that we had eels here in streams. We’re definitely going to be on the lookout. How neat! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Bryan

    Love your site, great stuff.
    I just wanted to let you know the picture of the american eel is actually a lamprey most likely a sea or brook lamprey. You can tell by the paired gill openings and lack of pectoral fins.
    Thanks keep up the great work.

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