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common name for any fish in the order Anguilliformes, and characterized by a long snakelike body covered with minute scales embedded in the skin. Eels lack the hind pair of fins, adapting them for wriggling in the mud and through the crevices of reefs and rocky shores. Most species are marine; the largest and most diverse group is the family Ophichthidae, the snake eels. Other large families are the conger eels, family Congridae, and the moray eels, family Muraenidae. Sharp-toothed and vicious, moray eels have a highly developed second set of jaws (pharyngeal jaws) that hold and pull prey into the throat after the main jaws snare it. The only freshwater eels are those of the family Anguillidae. The freshwater European eel, Anguilla anguilla, is found in the Atlantic coastal regions of Europe and the Mediterranean area; A. rostrata, the American eel, in North America E of the Rockies. Several other freshwater species are native to Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific.

The mature European eel migrates 3,000 to 4,000 mi (4,828–6,437 km) to its spawning ground in the deep sea SW of Bermuda, a journey lasting several months; they use ocean currents to help them swim there, where they reproduce and then die. The young hatch as transparent ribbonlike larvae (called glass eels) that drift north and east on ocean currents for three years before entering a river; they then develop into elvers, tiny versions of the adult eel. The American eel follows the same pattern, except that the young require only one year to reach freshwater.

Once in freshwater, the developing elvers feed voraciously on dead and living animals, even traveling over short stretches of land in search of frogs and lizards. They hunt at night and rest by day. The male, which attains a length of 2 ft (61 cm), remains at the river's mouth, while the female (4 ft/122 cm) swims upstream, staying there from 5 to 20 years. When the eels are sexually mature their enormous appetite wanes, and they do not eat during migration to the spawning ground. Their oily flesh is regarded by some as a delicacy; the skin was formerly used as leather.

Eels are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
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, subphylum Vertebrata, class Actinopterygii, order Anguilliformes.


See studies by R. Schweld (2002) and J. Prosek (2010).

What does it mean when you dream about an eel?

Eels embody many of the meanings of snakes or serpents, although their watery habitat links them more explicitly with the powers of the unconscious. As phallic symbols, they indicate unconscious sexual desires. They may also symbolize something in the unconscious of which we are afraid.


(vertebrate zoology)
The common name for a number of unrelated fishes included in the orders Anguilliformes and Cypriniformes; all have an elongate, serpentine body.


1. any teleost fish of the order Apodes (or Anguilliformes), such as the European freshwater species Anguilla anguilla, having a long snakelike body, a smooth slimy skin, and reduced fins
2. any of various other animals with a long body and smooth skin, such as the mud eel and the electric eel
References in periodicals archive ?
Most of the fishing grounds are close to the coast, which makes it possible to land the fish iced in boxes without quality losses," explained Angula.
According to Angula, over 20 incidents have been recorded throughout the country with the vast majority occurring in Windhoek.
Canizares is an institution at Valencia but he was sacrificed along with fellow Spanish internationals David Albeda and Miguel Angel Angula as Koeman attempted to end a run of poor performances.
The director-general of the National Planning Commission (NPC), Helmut Angula, explained: "The preliminary results show some improvements on the general welfare of the Namibian population.
The bank recently marked 10 years of existence, a period described as a decade of love by board chairperson Elize Angula.
Our prepaid users are now able to enjoy ultra-fast 4G LTE data access and an enhanced mobile experience," says Oiva Angula, senior manager for corporate communications and public relations at Telecom Namibia.
Ndume, who hails from Tsumeb but went into exile at the age of 15, was dissuaded from becoming a fashion designer after high school in exile in the Gambia, by the likes of Nahas Angula, then a principal of a camp school, now Prime Minister; Dr.
At the time, Comrade Helmuth Angula was the SWAPO chief representative to Cuba.
The party voted 'no' and instead named three possible candidates to succeed him: Land Minister Hifikepunye Pohamba, Higher Education Minister Nahas Angula and Foreign Minister Hidipo Hamutenya.
Development Bank of Namibia, Chairperson Elize Angula said that the bank not only grew substantially in 2013, but that it also set the stage for substantial growth in 2014.
THE interim head of the National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW) Constantia Pandeni has announced that Alfred Angula, the former general secretary of the Namibia Farm Workers Union (Nafwu) has been asked to give back the union's assets and give up his signatory powers from his former employers' 'bank accounts'.
Loida Angula, another Big Issue vendor, explains the benefits of Shibashi.