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whatthefauna:

Spotted garden eels (Taenioconger hassi) live in colonies of up to several thousand individuals. They spend the majority of their lives with only the top half of their body sticking out of a burrow they make in the sand, eating plankton and other tiny animals that float by. If in danger, the entire “garden” retracts into the sand in the blink of an eye.

Images: blueparadiseindonesia, Eric Cheng, Ryan Murphy

Bringing Back American Eels in the Susquehanna

by Sheila Eyler, project leader for the Mid-Atlantic Fish and Wildlife Coordination Office

When deciding to attend graduate school, I must admit that the American eel was not on the top of my list of fish to study. However, an opportunity to evaluate the impacts of hydroelectric dams on eel migration helped make the decision for me.

Seven years later, what I have learned about this unique and often misunderstood “snakelike” fish species has made me one of its biggest fans.

Historically, eels were abundant in estuaries and freshwater tributaries in much of the eastern U.S. and Canada. The construction of dams changed all this, drastically limiting eel migration routes from the ocean to upstream freshwater areas…

(read more: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - NE)

Rare fish observation with ROV Doc Ricketts at about 1300 m

The pelican eel, Eurypharynx pelecanoides, is a deep-sea fish named for its large mouth reminiscent of a pelican’s. It belongs to the order Saccopharyngiformes, closely related to true eels in Anguilliformes. It is also referred to as the gulper eel or the umbrella-mouth gulper.

The mouth is loosely hinged, and can be opened wide enough to swallow a fish much larger itself and the stomach can stretch to accommodate large meals, although stomach content analysis suggests they primarily eat small crustaceans. The tail has a bioluminescent organs, possibly to lure prey.

(via: Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute)

Palauan primitive cave eel, a ‘living fossil’

The Palauan primitive cave eel (Protanguilla palau) has an evolutionary history that dates back some 200 million years. Because of this and the fact that it has retained some primitive features, scientists are recognizing it as a ‘living fossil.’
A Japanese research diver, Jiro Sakaue, found the first specimen in February 2009, in a cave of a reef near the Republic of Palau. After extensive morphological and DNA analysis, Smithsonian ichthyologist David Johnson and colleagues from Palau and Japan determined that the genus and species belongs to a new family of eels called Protoanguillidae.
Unlike all other known species of eel, Protanguilla palau has a fully developed set of toothed gill rakers. These bony structures help retain food. The specimens that scientists have collected range in size from 44 mm (1.7 in) to 179 mm (7 in). The team published its findings online in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B on August 17, 2011.
photo by Jiro Sakaue
(via: Smithsonian’s Ocean Portal)

Palauan primitive cave eel, a ‘living fossil’

The Palauan primitive cave eel (Protanguilla palau) has an evolutionary history that dates back some 200 million years. Because of this and the fact that it has retained some primitive features, scientists are recognizing it as a ‘living fossil.’

A Japanese research diver, Jiro Sakaue, found the first specimen in February 2009, in a cave of a reef near the Republic of Palau. After extensive morphological and DNA analysis, Smithsonian ichthyologist David Johnson and colleagues from Palau and Japan determined that the genus and species belongs to a new family of eels called Protoanguillidae.

Unlike all other known species of eel, Protanguilla palau has a fully developed set of toothed gill rakers. These bony structures help retain food. The specimens that scientists have collected range in size from 44 mm (1.7 in) to 179 mm (7 in). The team published its findings online in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B on August 17, 2011.

photo by Jiro Sakaue

(via: Smithsonian’s Ocean Portal)

Look Into The Face Of Gnathostoma Spinigerum, A Worm That Infects Eels… And People
A team of U.S. researchers found the microscopic worms in 28 percent of eels sold live in U.S. markets.
by Francie Diep
Aww, aren’t they cute? These are scanning electron microscope images of nematodes of the species Gnathostoma spinigerum. You could get these little critters from eating imported eels that are sold live in markets. Adorbs!
The images come from a new paper published in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases. A team of U.S. Geological Survey scientists bought 47 swamp eels of the species Monopterus cuchia from markets in Atlanta, Georgia; Orlando, Florida; and New York City’s Manhattan Chinatown. Thirteen of the eels had Gnathostoma spinigerum nematodes, which are able to infect humans when they (the nematodes) are just the right age…
(read more: Popular Science)
images: Rebecca A. Cole et al., Emerging Infectious Diseases

Look Into The Face Of Gnathostoma Spinigerum, A Worm That Infects Eels… And People

A team of U.S. researchers found the microscopic worms in 28 percent of eels sold live in U.S. markets.

by Francie Diep

Aww, aren’t they cute? These are scanning electron microscope images of nematodes of the species Gnathostoma spinigerum. You could get these little critters from eating imported eels that are sold live in markets. Adorbs!

The images come from a new paper published in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases. A team of U.S. Geological Survey scientists bought 47 swamp eels of the species Monopterus cuchia from markets in Atlanta, Georgia; Orlando, Florida; and New York City’s Manhattan Chinatown. Thirteen of the eels had Gnathostoma spinigerum nematodes, which are able to infect humans when they (the nematodes) are just the right age…

(read more: Popular Science)

images: Rebecca A. Cole et al., Emerging Infectious Diseases

Incredible Encounter: Whales Devour European Eels In the Darkness of the Ocean Depths

by Jeremy Hance

The Critically Endangered European eel makes one of the most astounding migrations in the wild kingdom. After spending most of its life in Europe’s freshwater rivers, the eel embarks on an undersea odyssey, traveling 6,000 kilometers (3,720 miles) to the Sargasso Sea where it will spawn and die. The long-journeying eels larva than make their way back to Europe over nearly a year.

Yet by tracking adult European eels (Anguilla anguilla) with electronic data loggers, scientists have discovered that some eels never make it to their spawning ground, but instead are swallowed-up in the depths by leviathans.

"It turns out that eels are hunted and eaten by whales. It happens in surprisingly deep waters where we normally think that the eels would be safe", says Magnus Wahlberg from Southern University who headed the study that appears in Deep Sea Research Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers. "We do not know exactly which whale species are at play, but a good guess would be the pilot whale."

But how did scientists determine that whales prey on the eels?

(read more: http://news.mongabay.com/2014/0211-hance-european-eels-whales.html?fbfnpg)

photos: T - Pilot whale by Barney Moss; B - Eel by Anders Asp

Baby Ribbon Morays Born in Vienna

There are over 200 species of Moray eels. Worldwide, not one of them had been successfully bred until recently. At Zoo Vienna Schönbrunn, a Black Ribbon Moray laid a clutch of fertilized eggs, and some larvae even hatched!

The breeding of Morays is completely new territory. This successful event supplies the first information about the development of their eggs and larvae.

See and read more: ZooBorns

ichthyologist

astronomy-to-zoology:

Protanguilla palau

…is a species of deep sea eel that was discovered in 2010 in a deep cave off the coast of Palau. P. palau is widely regarded as a ‘living fossil’ as it has gone through little change since the Mesozoic era. And as such it was given its own family and genus. Like several fossil eels P. palau has a second premaxilla and under 90 vertebrae. They also have a full set of gill rakers in their branchial arches which has never before been seen in modern eels.

Phylogeny

Animalia-Chordata-Actinopterygii-Anguilliformes-Protanguillidae-Protanguilla-palau

Image Source(s)

Spotted Cuck Eel (Chilara taylori)
by FishBase
Uncommon species found on sandy bottom from the shore to 280 m. Adults often burrow tail-first in sand, live in mucus-lined holes, mud, eelgrass and rock rubble. Mostly active at night and on overcast days. Important food for sea lions and cormorants. Oviparous, with planktonic larvae and extended pelagic juvenile. Oval, pelagic eggs float in a gelatinous mass.
Found in water from 1 - 240 m in the Eastern Pacific (near coastal Americas). Reaches a length of up to 40 cm. 
(read more: Encyclopedia of Life)                
(photo: Shorefishes of the tropical eastern Pacific online information system. http://www.stri.org/sftep)

Spotted Cuck Eel (Chilara taylori)

by FishBase

Uncommon species found on sandy bottom from the shore to 280 m. Adults often burrow tail-first in sand, live in mucus-lined holes, mud, eelgrass and rock rubble. Mostly active at night and on overcast days. Important food for sea lions and cormorants. Oviparous, with planktonic larvae and extended pelagic juvenile. Oval, pelagic eggs float in a gelatinous mass.

Found in water from 1 - 240 m in the Eastern Pacific (near coastal Americas). Reaches a length of up to 40 cm.

(read more: Encyclopedia of Life)                

(photo: Shorefishes of the tropical eastern Pacific online information system. http://www.stri.org/sftep)

Fish Use ‘Sign Language’ to Help Out Hunting Buddies
by Douglas Main
Two types of fish have been shown to use gestures, or sign language, to help one another hunt. This is the first time these types of gestures have been found to occur in animals other than primates and ravens.

Both types of fish, grouper and coral trout, are known for hunting cooperatively with other kinds of animals. Whereas the grouper hunts with giant moray eels and a fish called the Napoleon wrasse, coral trout partner up with octopuses to snag prey. A study published last week in the journal Nature Communications found that the fish are able to “point” their heads toward prey, to help out their hunting buddies.
After observing the fish in the wild for many hours, the researchers found that when a prey fish escaped its hunting party, a grouper occasionally moved over the place where the fugitive prey was hiding. The grouper would then rotate its body so that its head faced downward, and it would shake its head back and forth in the direction of the potential meal, in what researchers call a “headstand” signal. Coral trout make a similar sign, the researchers found…
(read more: http://www.livescience.com/29120-fish-use-sign-language-to-hunt.html?cmpid=514627)
(photo: Klaus Jost., Univ. of Mich. - ADW)

Fish Use ‘Sign Language’ to Help Out Hunting Buddies

by Douglas Main

Two types of fish have been shown to use gestures, or sign language, to help one another hunt. This is the first time these types of gestures have been found to occur in animals other than primates and ravens.

Both types of fish, grouper and coral trout, are known for hunting cooperatively with other kinds of animals. Whereas the grouper hunts with giant moray eels and a fish called the Napoleon wrasse, coral trout partner up with octopuses to snag prey. A study published last week in the journal Nature Communications found that the fish are able to “point” their heads toward prey, to help out their hunting buddies.

After observing the fish in the wild for many hours, the researchers found that when a prey fish escaped its hunting party, a grouper occasionally moved over the place where the fugitive prey was hiding. The grouper would then rotate its body so that its head faced downward, and it would shake its head back and forth in the direction of the potential meal, in what researchers call a “headstand” signal. Coral trout make a similar sign, the researchers found…

(read more: http://www.livescience.com/29120-fish-use-sign-language-to-hunt.html?cmpid=514627)

(photo: Klaus Jost., Univ. of Mich. - ADW)

Watch The Eel Life Cycle on PBS. See more from Nature.

New Video Explores the Mystery of Eels

by Brandon Keim

Lurking in lakes and rivers around the world, eels are ubiquitous yet enigmatic. Despite centuries of study, the most basic details of eel life remain mysterious.

Their offspring, example, look so different from adults that they were long thought to be another species. Even more fundamentally, while every other migratory fish in the world spawns in fresh water and spends adulthood at sea, eels do the opposite. How did this come to be? Nobody knows.

“Even the more scientific books pretty much admit that we don’t know very much,” said James Prosek, an artist and author. “As Rachel Carson said, ‘they pass from human sight and almost from human knowledge.’”

Prosek’s first experiences with eels came in childhood, when he accidentally caught Anguilla rostrata, the American eel, while fishing for trout and bass in Connecticut. Exasperation eventually turned to fascination, sending him around the world in search of more information…

(read more: Wired Science)                             (video: PBS)