Actinopteri (ray-finned fishes) > Anguilliformes
(Eels and morays) > Anguillidae
Etymology: Anguilla: Latin, anguilla, .-ae = eel (Ref. 45335). More on author: Peters.
Environment: milieu / climate zone / depth range / distribution range
Marine; freshwater; brackish; demersal; catadromous (Ref. 51243). Tropical
Africa: Kenya to South Africa (Ref. 3506); Reunion and Mauritius (Ref. 33390). Uncommon south of the Save River. Dominant in the Zambezi system and farther north in East Africa.
Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm ?  range ? - ? cm
Max length : 175 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 48660); max. published weight: 20.0 kg (Ref. 3971); max. reported age: 15 years (Ref. 48660)
spines: 0. Dorsal fin origin is about midway between pectoral fin and anus. Caudal fin confluent with dorsal and anal fin. Body is mottled with dark brown pigmentation.
Migratory species which breeds in the ocean (Ref. 52331), it requires rivers and oceans (Ref. 30558). Young fish migrate upstream with a continued feeding mode, especially on invertebrates found on rocks and logs washed by fast moving waters (Ref. 30558). They inhabit various niches in a river system (Ref. 13337) and penetrate far inland, surmounting formidable barriers in its upstream migration, including the Kariba and Cahora Bassa dams. Adults need moving water to migrate back to the ocean, especially after heavy rains (Ref. 30558). Their food consists of crabs, frogs and insects (Ref. 30558), and even fish, including trout in the streams of the eastern highlands of Zimbabwe (Ref. 2478). Caught with various types of nets.
Life cycle and mating behavior
Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae
Skelton, P.H., 1993. A complete guide to the freshwater fishes of southern Africa. Southern Book Publishers. 388 p. (Ref. 7248)
IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 123251)
CITES (Ref. 123416)
Threat to humans
Fisheries: commercial; gamefish: yes
Common namesSynonymsMetabolismPredatorsEcotoxicologyReproductionMaturitySpawningSpawning aggregationFecundityEggsEgg development
ReferencesAquacultureAquaculture profileStrainsGeneticsAllele frequenciesHeritabilityDiseasesProcessingNutrientsMass conversion
Estimates based on models
Preferred temperature (Ref. 115969
): 25 - 28.7, mean 27.1 °C (based on 306 cells).
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805
= 0.5000 [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.00074 (0.00040 - 0.00138), b=3.18 (3.02 - 3.34), in cm total length, based on LWR estimates for this species & Genus-body shape (Ref. 93245
Trophic level (Ref. 69278
): 3.8 ±0.7 se; based on size and trophs of closest relatives
Resilience (Ref. 120179
): Low, minimum population doubling time 4.5 - 14 years (tmax=15).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): Very high vulnerability (85 of 100) .