American Eel (Anguilla rostrata) & European Eel (Anguilla anguilla)
The American Eel (Anguilla rostrata) is a wonderfully peculiar fish with a snake-like body which can reach 4 feet in length. This species is catadromous, meaning they spend most of their lives in fresh water and migrate to the sea to breed. They are common in Eastern North America where they live in rivers, lakes and ponds, feeding on invertebrates, fish, insects and carrion. The closely related European Eel (Anguilla anguilla) leads a similar life in European lakes and rivers. Both species of eel migrate into the Atlantic to breed in the Sargasso Sea.
The Eel’s profile has been raised recently due to ongoing activities to create a high seas conservation area in the Sargasso Sea, its primary spawning ground. Both the American and European Eel are protected in Bermuda’s waters by the Protected Species Act 2003, which lists the American Eel as ‘vulnerable’ and the European Eel as ‘critically endangered’.
If you have seen an eel in Bermuda, please report your sighting to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Article on the American Eel in the Bermuda Audubon Society Winter 2011 newsletter
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species account for the European Eel (Anguilla anguilla)