What are the types of Eels?

What are the types of eels?

Introduction: What are the types of Eels?

What are the types of Eels? – Eel is a fish with ray-like fins that is in the same family as true eels (Anguillidae). The species is a fish that moves from fresh water to salt water and back again.

There are around 800 species of eels, divided into eight suborders, 19 families, and 111 genera.

Carlo Mondini, an Italian, found an eel’s ovaries in 1777. This proved that eels are a type of fish. (see article on Wikipedia)


Eels are fish in the order Anguilliformes that have rayed fins.

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Actinopterygii
  • Order:Anguilliformes


The Types of Eels

American Eel (+ Post)

American Eel
American Eel (Anguilla rostrata)

The American Eel is a fish with a long, snake-like body and fins that run around the back, around the tail, and along the bottom.

See my post about the American Eel

Beach Conger Eel

Conger eels have huge heads, large gill slits, wide mouths, and sharp teeth. They are grayish to blackish in color, with paler bellies and black-edged fins. Conger eels are carnivorous fish that can grow to be 1.8 meters long and can be found in all oceans, including deep water (6 feet).

Black Spotted Eel

Black Spotted Eel
Black Spotted Eel

The Black Spotted Eel’s body is elongated, with a long snout. The dorsal and anal fins are both expanded and attached to the caudal fin. These fish are often imported at lengths of more than 20 inches (50.8 cm).

Cutthroat Eel

Cutthroat Eel
Cutthroat Eel (source: earth.com)

Having bodies that look like long worms. They can be anywhere from 23 to 160 cm long. They live on the bottom and can be found in water as deep as 3,700 m.

European Eel (+ Post)

European Eel
European Eel

The European eel (Anguilla anguilla) is a type of eel that looks like a snake and is a catadromous fish. They are generally 60-80 cm (2.0-2.6 ft) long and rarely exceed 1 m (3 ft 3 in) in length, but can reach 1.5 m (4 ft 11 in) in unusual circumstances.

See my post about the European Eel

Fimbriated Moray Eel

Fimbriated Moray Eel
Fimbriated Moray Eel

The Fimbriated Moray Eel can get as long as 80 cm. Its body is shaped like a snake and has a pattern of lines that move up and down its length. The head is light green, and the rest of the animal is light yellow.

Giant Moray Eel

Giant Moray Eel
Giant Moray Eel

The Giant Moray (Gymnothorax javanicus) has the biggest body mass of all the morays in the Indo-Pacific. It can grow to be 3 meters long and 30 kg heavy.

Goldentail Moray Eel

Goldentail Moray Eel
Goldentail Moray Eel

In the USVI (Virgin Islands), the Goldentail Moray Eel is one of the more common species. The tip of the tail is usually yellow or gold, but sometimes it is not. The tail is rarely seen. If an eye is yellow, the iris is yellow. Become about 2 feet tall.

Green Moray Eel 

Green Moray Eel
Green Moray Eel, Monito Island, Puerto Rico.jpg – Wikimedia Commons

North of the Caribbean, where the water is cooler, you can often find green moray eels near seawalls and rock pilings. They live in many different places in warm tropical waters, like coral reefs, mangroves, tidal creeks, and even sandy or muddy bottoms.

Grey Conger Eel

Grey Moray Eel
Grey Moray Eel Gymnothorax Griseus Ocean Conservation Moray Eel (themelower.com)

The grey face moray is a medium-sized fish that is usually seen around 40 cm long and can grow to be as long as 66 cm.

Gulper Eel

The gulper eel, or Eurypharynx pelecanoides as it is called by scientists, is one of the strangest-looking creatures in the deep sea.

Half-Banded Spiny Eel

Half Banded Spiney Eel
Half Banded Spiney Eel

Half Banded Spiny Eels are a strange addition to the peaceful community of softwater fish. The bottom of the aquarium should be soft sand so that these diggers can bury themselves. There should also be lots of places for them to hide, like thickets of plants, bogwood, caves, pipes, and so on.

Japanese Eel

Japanese eel is so valuable that it’s called “white gold,” but its value on the black market has made it an endangered species, and scientists still don’t know how it reproduces. (source: scmp.com)

Longfin African Conger Eel

Longfin African Conger
Longfin African Conger

The Longfin African Conger Eel (Conger cinereus) is also called the Moustache Conger Eel and the Blacklip Conger Eel. They like to stay out of sight and are rarely seen during the day.

Mottled Conger Eel

Mottled Conger Moray
Mottled Conger Moray

The mottled conger moray, also called the mulatto conger, is a type of moray eel in the genus Enchelycore. It lives in both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. It can grow to be up to 100 cm long.

Ocellated Spiny Eel

Ocellated Spiny Eel
Mastacembelus vanderwaali Photo © Animal-World: Courtesy Ken Childs

Like most members of the spiny eel family, this eel is interesting because it has a strange color pattern and behaves in a unique way.

Peacock Eel

Peacock Eels
A number of peacock eels hiding in the same spot. Copyright www.jjphoto.dk

As of 2006, the Peacock eel has never been seen to have babies in an aquarium. It can be hard to tell the difference between a male and a female Peacock eel, but an adult female will have a rounder body.

Pelican Eel

Pelican Eel
Pelican Eel

It looks like both a bird and an eel, but it’s neither. This deep-sea fish was first called a pelican because of its large, scoop-like jaw. (source: twilightzone.whoi.edu)

Purple Spaghetti Eel 

Purple Spaghetti Eel
Purple Spaghetti Eel (Moringua raitaborua)

The Purple Spaghetti Eel (Moringua raitaborua) is a shy “worm eel” that can grow to be more than 17 inches long and looks like thin spaghetti. (source: tropical-fish-keeping.com)

Ribbon Eel

Ribbon Eel
Blue ribbon Eel fish on Pom Pom Island, Celebes resort, Sabah.jpg – Wikimedia Commons

Black Phase (Juvenile): Ribbon eels start out as juveniles, which are easy to spot because their bright yellow dorsal fin runs the length of their dark, black bodies.

Blue Phase (male): As the eel grows up, its black color changes to a bright, electric blue, and its yellow dorsal fin gets even brighter. This is the male stage of the ribbon eel’s life cycle.

Yellow Phase (Female): As the male ribbon eel continues to grow, its color changes again, this time to yellow. When the ribbon eel reaches about 1.3 meters (4 feet), it enters its female stage. Ribbon eels that are in the female stage can lay eggs. The Samoa sawtooth eel, Serrivomer samoensis, is a sawtooth eel in the genus Serrivomer. It lives between 500 and 2,000 m deep in the south-west Pacific.

Sawtooth Eel

Sawtooth Eel
Bean’s Sawtooth Eel, Serrivomer beanii. Source: St. Lawrence Global Observatory-SLGO, http://slgo.ca, (2015); © CNozeres (MPODFO Canada). License: CC By Attribution

The Samoa sawtooth eel, Serrivomer samoensis, is a sawtooth eel in the genus Serrivomer. It lives between 500 and 2,000 m deep in the south-west Pacific.

Like other sawtooth eels, the eel has long, thin, and narrow jaws with protruding teeth that are falciform and point backward. This helps the eel eat big animals.

Short-finned Eel

Shortfin Eel
A Southern Shortfin Eel, Anguilla australis, from Gippsland Lakes at Angusvale, Mitchell River National Park, Victoria, November 2014. Source: David Paul / Museums Victoria. License: CC by Attribution-NonCommercial

Almost 7000 years ago, people in the Lake Condah area of southwest Victoria fished for Southern Shortfin Eels in fresh water.

With diversion channels, weirs, and stone eel traps, the Gunditjmara people, who were native to Australia, changed the landscape to set up a very sophisticated aquaculture industry.

Large groups of Aboriginal people lived in this old volcanic landscape all year long. They farmed, smoked, and traded eels there. The Budj Bim Cultural Landscape is now on the list of World Heritage Sites for 2019.

Slender Giant Moray Eel

Giant Moray
Giant Moray – by Albert Kok

The giant moray is found all over the Indo-Pacific, from the eastern coast of Africa, which includes the Red Sea, to the Pitcairn group, the Hawaiian islands, and Polynesia. From north to south, it goes from Japan to New Caledonia, Fiji, and the Austral Islands in the south.

Snake Eel

Snake eels are not a single species, but rather a group of more than 300 different kinds of eels. The scientific name for this family is Ophichthidae, but most people call them worm or snake eels. Most of the time, eels live in warm, tropical waters. Most species live and hide in things at the bottom of rivers or the ocean. Depending on the species, snake eels come in a wide range of sizes, with some getting as long as 10 feet (about 3 meters).

Snipe Eel

Snipe Eel
Closeup of a snipe eel showing the long, curved jaws that resemble a bird’s beak (© opencage / CC BY-SA 2.6)

The upper and lower jaws of a snipe eel are very long and bend away from each other at the ends. This means that when the eel shuts its mouth, they don’t touch. The eel can catch its food with the help of its curved jaws. The jaws are full of tiny hook-like teeth that help catch shrimp and other small crustaceans.

Snowflake Moray Eel

Snowflake Eel
Snowflake eels can swallow prey without swallowing water. Credit: Misenus1, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

The snowflake moray eel has been seen slithering onto the beach to catch a tasty crab. That doesn’t happen all that often, since some fish come out of the water to eat. But the snowflake does leave behind the water. Unlike other fish, it doesn’t have to swallow water with its food to help it go down.

Snyder’s Moray Eel

Snyder's moray eel
Snyder’s moray eel – by Randall J.E.

Snyder’s moray (Anarchias leucurus) was first seen by Snyder in 1904. He gave it its name. Because it has small spots on its body, some people call it a fine-spotted moray or a fine-spot moray. It is the smallest moray and is made up of several different kinds of eels.

Tire Track Eel

Tire Track Eel
Tire Track Eel – (c) Tommy Hui, some rights reserved (CC BY-NC), uploaded by Tommy Hui

There are a few different kinds of spiny eels that are sometimes called “track eels.” Track eels may also be called zig zag eels or white spotted spiny eels. They live in India, Thailand, and Myanmar, which are all in Southeast Asia. Most of the time, they live alone and are most active at night.

This eel lives in Southeast Asian rivers and swamps. People with big freshwater aquariums often keep them as pets. This carnivorous eel can grow up to 2.4 feet long when it’s fully grown.

Whitespotted Conger Eel

Whitespotted Conger Eel
Whitespotted Conger Eel – Picture of the Whitespotted conger has been licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike.

The white spotted conger is a type of marine conger eel that lives near the coasts of Japan, Korea, and the East China Sea. C. myriaster lives in sand and mud on the bottom of shallow seas. It is also eaten as food and is often called “anago” on menus in Japan and other places.

Zebra Moray Eel

Zebra Moray Eel
Zebra Moray Eel – megaquarium.fandom.com

The Zebra Moray lives in the Indo-Pacific and is one of the few moray eels that doesn’t eat fish. This makes it the moray species that would do best in a tank with other fish. But it will eat things that are not animals.

Like other morays, the Zebra Moray needs lots of rocks and caves to hide in so it can feel safe. To keep both the aquarist and the eel from getting hurt, it should be fed with a soft-tipped feeding stick, like those sold for pet snakes. The Zebra Moray lives in the Indo-Pacific and is one of the few moray eels that doesn’t eat fish. This makes it the moray species that would do best in a tank with other fish. But it will eat things that are not animals.


This brings me to the conclusion of this article. I hope you enjoyed it, and please feel free to leave any questions, more information, comments, ambiguities, or untruths in the comments.

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