; superorder Elopomorpha, order Anguilliformes)
A family of snake-like fish with long, cylindrical bodies, narrow, vertical gill slits, and a long dorsal fin continuing through the tail fin into the anal fin. The skin bears minute scales. Widely distributed in tropical and temperate regions, the adults tend to live in fresh water for a number of years, finally migrating to the sea to spawn. Being a valuable food fish, eels are marketed in large numbers in many countries. The common eel, Anguilla anguilla, is known to spawn in the Sargasso Sea (western Atlantic), the juveniles (elvers) taking up to three years to reach the coast of Europe. There is one genus, Anguilla, with about 15 species.
Subjects: Zoology and Animal Sciences.