How Long Do Eels Live ?

How Long Do Eels Live ?

Eels are a common type of fish found in the ocean. There are nineteen known families of eels of which only one live in the freshwater. For this reason, that family of eels is called freshwater eels. However, the whole life of the freshwater eels is not spent in the waters of the lakes, rivers or streams. They are initially hatched in the oceans from where they flow into the freshwater and once adult, they return back to the oceans.

The life cycle of an eel starts in the form of a sexless larva, near the Coral Sea in New Guinea. From there, it begins to move south with the ocean currents towards New Zealand, developing itself along the way. For the larvae which are 50 to 70 millimeters long, it takes about 1 to 2 years for them to make the 3000-kilometer long journey to the freshwater estuaries of the eastern coast of Australia. By this time, they develop their own gender. The ones who travel upstream end up becoming females and the other ones that remain in the estuaries end up becoming males.

A short while from that, they start developing into elvers, and their color starts to become brown. Now they swim to a freshwater body like lakes, rivers, streams or creaks and spend the next six to thirty five years of their lives there. On completion of this duration in the freshwater, the eels are considered to be adults. It is at this point they begin to grow their reproductive organs and starts being sexually active. Then they begin their return journey to New Guinea, where they ultimately spawn and eventually die. This sums up the life cycle of an eel.

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How Long Do Eels Live ?