Common eel (anguila anguila)
An elver (a young eel)
Adult eels have long, narrow bodies, with one long fin along the back, tail and underside. Their skin is slimy and they have tiny scales, which are sometimes absent. They have brown, black or olive-green backs and yellow bellies.
Eels spend part of their life cycle in the sea, and part in rivers and streams. The adult eels travel down river and out to the Sargasso Sea far away in the Atlantic Ocean to breed and lay eggs. After several years at sea, the young eels then make the journey back to rivers and streams in the UK where they mature and cycle begins again.
The number of eels has declined over recent years, and they are now threatened. There is little scientific knowledge about this species, but pollution, overfishing, habitat degradation, parasites infection and climate changes in climate may have an effect on eel populations. The eel fishery is the most valuable commercial inland fishery in England and there are concerns that use of the eel population is not sustainable. Information on where eels occur across Leicestershire and Rutland would be very helpful.
More information and images of eels are available on the Arkive website. http://www.arkive.org/species/ARK/fish/Anguilla_anguilla/
All photos kindly supplied by the Environment Agency
Produced by the Community Heritage Initiative, which was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Rutland County Council
Page Last Updated: 25 November 2008