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Kidadl Team

SEPTEMBER 02, 2021

Did You Know? 15 Incredible Short-Finned Eel Facts

Amazing short-finned eel facts for everyone.

Eels (Anguilla australis) are not pretty creatures. They have long thin olive-green bodies with short fins. The Anguilla australis, Australian shortfin eel fish, loves to travel. The shortfin eel's (Anguilla australis) migration is supported by environment flows. These flows help short-finned eels in their migration from rivers, swamps, and lakes to the Coral Sea. Adult eels migrate from freshwater to the sea to breed. These eels migrate 3106.85 mi (5,000 km) to reach the spawning site. This distance takes shortfin eels (Anguilla australis) around one year of migration. Their population distribution can be found across southeastern Australia, New Zealand,  New Caledonia, Norfolk Island, Lord Howe Island, Tahiti, and Fiji.

Before the long migration journey to the north, longfin eels (Anguilla australis) fatten themselves up. Their diet includes smelt, whitebait, trout, and earthworms. When these glass eels or adult eels species reach the sea coast or coastal, fighting currents upstream, these freshwater fish migrate north to coastal areas to spawn in seas or dams. The spawning of New Caledonia fishes and New Guinea happens in deep dark water. This long journey is taken once in their life, and after spawning, they die. Ocean currents carry larvae back to Australian coastal areas and towards the northeast coast. These marine creatures serve as a great delicacy and they have also been commercially raised for the purpose of consuming them.

If you enjoyed learning about the short-finned eel, you could also check out these spotted moray eel facts and eel facts.

Short-Finned Eel Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a short-finned eel?

Shortfin eels (Anguilla australis) are a type of eel, also known as glass eels or freshwater eels. These fish generally inhabit river streams, freshwater and migrate in search of a place to spawn. They can be found across southern Australia, including Victoria.

What class of animal does a short-finned eel belong to?

Anguilla dieffenbachii, glass eels or freshwater eels, are fish from the class Actinopterygii and family Anguillidae. They are also used in commercial eel fisheries.

How many short-finned eels are there in the world?

The total number of short-finned eels present across the world is unknown.

Where does a short-finned eel live?

Freshwater eels distribution can be found in southeastern Australia, New Zealand,  New Caledonia, Norfolk Island, Lord Howe Island, Tahiti, and Fiji. Some of them are raised in tanks or freshwaters owned by people. However, short-finned eel aquariums must be of the appropriate size to help them move around freely.

What is a short-finned eel's habitat?

As per species biology, the larvae go to the Australian east coast to become juvenile eels before entering Australian freshwaters, rivers, and streams. Freshwater eels detect freshwater of rivers and streams through their navigation towards south inland water. In rivers, juvenile eels can make their way upstream because if they can't, they will sadly die. Female glass eels (Anguilla australis) occur further upstream than males. The water of lakes and swamps environment helps short-finned eels species to keep their residents safe. They can be found in slow-flowing habitats, including around undercut banks and snags and Victoria, south of the Great Dividing, New Zealand. The diet of glass eels or shortfin eel (Anguilla australis) includes worms, insects, small crustaceans, and mollusks.

Who does short-finned eel live with?

These glass eels with dorsal fins live in groups and packs with other eels in freshwater and seas.

How long does a short-finned eel live?

The total lifespan of glass eels is around 35 years.

How do they reproduce?

Eels (Anguilla australis) migrate around 3106.85 mi (5,000 km) to reach their spawning site. These fishes usually take around one year to reach their spawning sites. Before the long migration north, they fatten themselves by feeding on whitebait, young trout, and earthworms. These short-finned eels bite and kill their prey. When these glass eels or adult eels species reach the ocean coast, these freshwater fish migrate to north coastal regions to spawn among coral seas or rivers. This long journey is taken once in their life and after spawning, they often lose their lives. Ocean currents carry larvae back to Australian coastal areas and towards the northeast coast.

The larvae go to the Australian east coast to become juvenile eels before entering Australian freshwater, river, and streams. Freshwater eels detect freshwater of rivers and streams through their navigation towards south inland waters. In the river, the juvenile eels can make their way upstream, and if they can't, they usually end up dying. Male shortfin eels generally reach maturity between 8-12 years of age, and females reach maturity in 10-20 years, before migrating to the sea to spawn and breed.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of these eels is of Least Concern, as they have a stable population.

Short-Finned Eel Fun Facts

What does a short-finned eel look like?

These eels have olive-green and gray body coloration.

Freshwater eels have long, thin, olive-green bodies with short fins. They do not appear very cute as they have sharp teeth and resemble snakes. Their dorsal fin and anal fin are equal in length. This eel often appears silvery and gray with a pale underside and its longfin green in coloration. These eels flow in sea, rivers which help short-finned eel migration from rivers, swans, lakes to the Coral Sea. The life cycle of these eels is around 35 years, where they spend one long journey up to 3106.85 mi (5000 km) in search of the site to spawn and then die.  They capture the entire Victoria line. Fishery like overfishing and aquaculture has damaged their habitat and food.

How cute are they?

These eels are not very cute.

How do they communicate?

The means of communication among these eels are unknown. However, it is believed that they may communicate through signals.

How big is a short-finned eel?

Short-finned eels can reach up to 43.3 in (110 cm), which is five times larger than a lamprey.

How fast can a short-finned eel swim?

They swim fast for food, though the exact speed at which they swim is unknown.

How much does a short-finned eel weigh?

Short-finned eels live in fresh transparent waters and weigh around 7.05 lb (3.2 kg), which is five times smaller than hampala barbs.

What are the male and female names of the species?

Males and females of this species do not have separate names to describe them.

What would you call a baby short-finned eel?

Baby short-finned eels are generally known as fry.

What do they eat?

These eels prefer feeding in transparent fresh shallow waters at night. Their food includes smelt, whitebait, anchovies, young trout, earthworms, and insects.

Are they dangerous?

No, these eels are not dangerous, but they can bite with their tiny sharp teeth if they feel threatened. Therefore, one must be careful while catching them.

Would they make a good pet?

Yes, many people keep them in aquariums as pets.

Did you know...

Short-finned eels eating in the dark is quite common as they prefer to feed in the dark, preferably at night. Their eyesight is also not very good.

Are short-finned eels dangerous?

No, they are not dangerous to humans in any way, but one must take caution as they can bite.

Why is it called short-finned eel?

They have acquired their name from the fact that they have short fins. They prefer living in transparent freshwaters across Victoria.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other fishes from our ribbon eel facts and conger eel facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our free printable short finned eel coloring pages.

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