Life History

The first successful attempt to understand the amazing life cycle and unusual traits of the eel has generally been accredited to two men who devoted most of their lives to studying eels: Danish biologist Johannes Schmidt and his student Vilhelm Ege. The discovery of a leptocephalus by Schmidt in 1904 started a 35-year study that helped establish a solid foundation to the ecological study of eels. Nevertheless, many questions concerning the life history of eels still remain unanswered. Although the life history of three species, European eel, American eel, and the Japanese eel are well investigated, little is known about the other species.

Eels are catadromous migrants, that is, they spawn at sea and spend most of their lives in inland waters. The spawning ground and migration route vary with each species.

European Eel

The European eel spawns at the Sargasso Sea, 22-30° N, 48-65° W, in the western Atlantic Ocean from early spring

Table 1. Major Details of the World's Anguilla Species
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