NANFA-- amazing eel factoid!

Christopher Scharpf (
Mon, 06 Dec 1999 21:03:09 -0400

I was browsing through a Danish oceanography journal the other day at a
university library, and came across an amazing bit of eel trivia. As you
probably are aware, American and European freshwater eels are catadromous,
growing in freshwater, spawning at sea. When an eel matures, it ceases feeding
and embarks on a 6-month or so journey back to the Sargasso Sea, where it was
born, to spawn and die. Okay, here's the amazing part...

Danish scientists, studying how migrating adult eels (called silver eels) can
survive six months without feeding (yet maintain enough strength to swim up to
3500 miles!), kept adult eels in the aquarium and did not feed them.

Guess how long they lived?

Six months, right?


Eight months?


A year??!!

You're not even close.

One female European silver eel lived an amazing 1594 days without food.

Thatıs four years, 19 weeks, and one day!

Chris Scharpf

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