Anguilla mossambica (Peters, 1852)
African longfin eel
Anguilla mossambica
photo by JJPhoto

Family:  Anguillidae (Freshwater eels)
Max. size:  150 cm TL (male/unsexed); 120 cm SL (female); max.weight: 5,730.0 g; max.weight: 5,730.0 g; max. reported age: 20 years
Environment:  demersal; freshwater; brackish; marine, catadromous
Distribution:  Western Indian Ocean: east coast rivers of Africa from Kenya south to Cape Agulhas, also in Madagascar and other western Indian Ocean islands (Ref. 7248, 52193). Reported from New Caledonia (Ref. 11889).
Diagnosis:  Dorsal spines (total): 0-0; Anal spines: 0-0. Description: Head and body elongated, with thick smooth skin, scales minute and embedded (Ref. 52193). Dorsal fin origin well in advance of anal fin origin, both joined with caudal (Ref. 4967, 52193). Mouth large, lips thick, teeth fine, forming narrow bands on jaws and palate; gill slits small, restricted to sides in front of pectoral fins (Ref. 52193).

Colouration: Olive to greyish black dorsally, lighter ventrally (Ref. 3971, 52193). On maturity prior to entering the sea the colour changes to dark bronze above and light yellow or silvery below (Ref. 52193).

Biology:  Migratory species, which breeds in the ocean (Ref. 52331). Inhabits both quiet and fast flowing water (Ref. 13337). Elvers ascend rivers mainly at night and overcome waterfalls and walls of dams with great determination. Adults usually sedentary. Females can attain 120 cm SL and are generally longer and heavier than males (Ref. 48660). Carnivorous, eats dead or living prey but especially fish and crabs. After feeding in fresh water for ten years or more, adults assume a silver breeding dress, the eyes become enlarged and they return to sea to breed. Considered to breed east of Madagascar, but thought to move south of that island on its way to the Mozambique coast and South African rivers (Ref. 13337). Flesh fatty but highly esteemed as smoked or jellied eel (Ref. 5214). Caught with various types of nets (Ref. 4967).
IUCN Red List Status: Near Threatened (NT); Date assessed: 08 November 2018 (A2bcde) Ref. (130435)
Threat to humans:  harmless
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