Comment 2 of 2, added on April 15th, 2014 at 2:00 PM.
Eels are elongated fish, ranging in length from 5 cm (2.0 in) in the
one-jawed eel (Monognathus ahlstromi)[dubious – discuss] to 4 m (13 ft) in
the slender giant moray. Adults range in weight from 30 grams (1.1 oz)
to well over 25 kilograms (55 lb). They possess no pelvic fins, and many
species also lack pectoral fins. The dorsal and anal fins are fused with
the caudal or tail fin, forming a single ribbon running along much of the
length of the animal.
Most eels live in the shallow waters of the ocean and burrow into sand,
mud, or amongst rocks. A majority of eel species are nocturnal, and thus
are rarely seen. Sometimes they are seen living together in holes, or "eel
pits". Some species of eels also live in deeper water on the continental
shelves and over the slopes deep as 4,000 m (13,000 ft). Only members of
the Anguilla family regularly inhabit fresh water, but they too return to
the sea to breed.
Eels begin life as flat and transparent larvae, or leptocephali. Eel larvae
drift in the surface waters of the sea, feeding on marine snow, small
particles that float in the water. Eel larvae then metamorphose into glass
eels and then become elvers before finally seeking out their juvenile and
adult habitats. Freshwater elvers travel upstream and are forced to
climb up obstructions, such as weirs, dam walls, and natural waterfalls.
Lady Colin Campbell found, at Ballisodare, the eel fisheries were greatly
improved by the hanging of loosely plaited grass ladders over barriers,
enabling the elvers to ascend.
The heaviest true eel is the European conger. The maximum size of this
species has been reported as reaching a length of 3 m (10 ft) and a weight
of 110 kg (240 lb). Other eels are longer but do not weigh as much, such
as the slender giant moray which reaches 4 m (13 ft).
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