Re: NANFA-- amazing eel factoid!

Christopher Scharpf (
Tue, 07 Dec 1999 08:41:47 -0400

Shireen asked...

> Did they do a measure of metabolic functions of the fish, to see just how
> much energy it was expending?

Shireen, you ask such tough questions. :-) I simply browsed the article and
skipped over the boring biochemistry parts. But I do remember this: The
experiments showed that silver eels accumulate lipids, accounting for something
like 80% of their total energy. During eel starvation, they use up their lipid
reserves at a lower rate than their protein reserves. (Thank goodness for

BTW, the eels were kept in 14 degree water (I think that's 57 in F).

Regarding Klaus' comment that starving the eels for 1594 days was amazingly
cruel -- Well, remember this: Silver eels starve themselves anyway for the 6
months or so that it takes them to return to the Sargasso. So the researchers
were not depriving them of food. The only thing the eels were deprived was the
chance to fulfill their reproductive destiny (which most aquarium fishes are
deprived of anyway). In fact, you could say the researchers EXTENDED the
eel's life from 6 months to 4+years.

Say, that reminds me, I better go have breakfast, or I'm just gonna DIE.

Chris Scharpf

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