european eel

Scientific name Anguilla anguilla
Descriptor Linnaeus
Year of description 1758
IUCN category CR
Family Anguillidae
Genus Anguilla
Anguilla anguilla Anguilla anguilla


Anguilla anguilla, commonly known as european eel, is a fresh water fish from the Europe.

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Who is it?

Genus Anguilla

Eels are serpentine fishes with a cylindrical body. They have small scales embedded in their dermis. Their skin is covered by abundant mucus.

In 2019, 19 species of eels have been identified. Genus Anguilla belongs to the Anguilliformes, which is composed of this single genus sub-group. These species live in tempered as well as tropical oceans.

All eels share a similar reproduction cycle. First, larvae are born in the sea and migrate to the continental shelf where they go through morphological changes. Then, they colonize all the freshwater streams. Using this strategy avoids an intra-species competition.


  • Average size
    50 cm
  • Maximum size
    150 cm
  • Longevity
    6 year
  • Shape
  • Average size
    50 cm
  • Maximum size
    150 cm
  • Longevity
    6 year
  • Shape

How to recognize the european eel ?

The european eel measures between 50 and 150 cm. This fish is unicolore with a predominantly marron body.

Behaviour & Life cycle

  • diet
  • Sociability
  • territorial
  • Way of living

The european eel is a fish solitary naturally found near the bottom. This species is carnivorous . This fish lives mainly at night. Usually, it leaves its hiding place and starts to be active once it gets dark.

n general, this species does not care much about other animals crossing its path.


  • Reproduction
    ovipare oeufs flottants

The european eel is a fish ovipare oeufs flottants.

Harmless species

This species does not represent any particular threats to humans when encountered in its natural environment.

Where to find it?

Where to see this species?

What is its habitat?

Natural environment characteristics

  • Temperature
    2 - 22 °C
  • pH (acidity)
    7.2 - 8.2
  • gh (hardness)
    10 - 30
  • Flow
    Strong, Medium and Slow

Biotope presentation

The european eel prefers well oxygenated waters in current areas and rapids. It frequents fast flowing waters where the bottom is strewn with pebbles, wood or leaves carried by the current. It can be found not far from waterfalls .

To go further

To read on the web

Sources & Contributions

Participation & Validation

The Fishipedia team and specialist contributors are committed to providing high-quality content. However, although the information comes from scientific sources or testimonials from specialists, the cards may contain inaccuracies.

Robert Allgayer

Robert Allgayer

Patrick Chartrer

Patrick Chartrer

Benoit Chartrer

Benoit Chartrer


Translation done with the valuable contribution of our translators, who make this information available to a wider audience. We sincerely thank them for their commitment.

In collaboration with : Fédération Française Aquariophilie

Bibliographic references

Les Poissons d'eau douce de France - Eric Feunteun - Jean Allardi - Philippe Keith - Biotope Edition - 2011. Collection Inventaires & Biodiversité, publication scientifique du Muséum

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Scientific partners

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