New Zealand Longfin Eel Facts!

New Zealand Longfin Eel Facts!

New Zealand Longfin eel (Anguilla dieffenbachii) seen in a river at night in the Tararua Ranges. PD Image by Gusmonkeyboy.

The New Zealand Longfin Eels, as the name suggests, are endemic to New Zealand. They are found in freshwater bodies like lakes, rivers and streams etc. They grow up to around 1.2 m in length but individuals as long as 2 m also exist. Eels feed on a range of prey like small fish, fish eggs, mice, ducklings and also carrion.


Dark colouration of a New Zealand Longfin Eel. Image credit: karlnorling, cc2.0

They have a very dark colouration. Their skin is silky and soft but also easily damaged. And they can absorb oxygen through the skin allowing them to travel on moist land.


Image credit: karlnorling, cc2.0

The longfin eels breed only once in their life at the end of their life cycle. They migrate very long distances into the sea and lay the eggs, between 1 to 20 million. After laying the eggs the adult eels die. The eggs hatch and the flat leaf-like larvae that emerge drift back to New Zealand on the ocean currents.

New Zealand longfin eel populations are decreasing due to commercial fishing.

New Zealand Longfin Eels are featured in the following book:
25 River Monsters

The YouTube video playlist below contains videos about New Zealand Longfin Eels. Details of the videos featured are underneath.

The Playlist:

  1. Up Close & Personal with New Zealand’s Giant Longfin Eel by lori mcnee
  2. Stephanie Bowman feeding eels at Pukaha by Gill S
  3. Long-finned Eels of Marlborough, New Zealand by patch6of6evil6
  4. Battle to save longfin eel in Wairarapa begins by maraetvnz
  5. Swimming with the longfin eels in Lake Rotoiti by TwoBackpacksOneWorld


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