European conger

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European conger
Murina.jpg
Conger conger Gervais.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Anguilliformes
Family: Congridae
Genus: Conger
Species: C. conger
Binomial name
Conger conger
(Linnaeus, 1758)
Conger conger map.png
The Range of the European conger
Synonyms
  • Anguilla conger (Linnaeus, 1758)
  • Anguilla obtusa Swainson, 1839
  • Conger communis Costa, 1844
  • Conger niger (Risso, 1810)
  • Conger rubescens Ranzani, 1840
  • Conger verus Risso, 1827
  • Conger vulgaris Yarrell, 1832
  • Leptocephalus candidissimus Costa, 1832
  • Leptocephalus conger (Linnaeus, 1758)
  • Leptocephalus gussoni Cocco, 1829
  • Leptocephalus inaequalis Facciolà, 1883
  • Leptocephalus lineatus Bonnaterre, 1788
  • Leptocephalus morrisii Gmelin, 1789
  • Leptocephalus pellucidus (Couch, 1832)
  • Leptocephalus spallanzani Risso, 1810
  • Leptocephalus stenops Kaup, 1856
  • Leptocephalus vitreus Kölliker, 1853
  • Muraena conger Linnaeus, 1758
  • Muraena nigra Risso, 1810
  • Ophidium pellucidum Couch, 1832
  • Ophisoma obtusa (Swainson, 1839)

The European conger, Conger conger, is a species of conger of the family Congridae. It is the largest eel in the world and native to the northeast Atlantic, including the Mediterranean Sea.

Description and behavior[edit]

European congers have a common length of 150 cm (59 in), a maximum length of 3 m (9.8 ft), and weigh up to 110 kg (240 lb),[1] making them the largest eels in the world.

The body is very long, anguilliform, without scales. The color is usually gray, but can also be blackish. The belly is white. A row of white small spots is aligned along the lateral line. The head is almost conical, and slightly depressed. The snout is rounded and prominent, with lateral olfactory holes. The large gill openings are in the lateral position. The conical teeth are arranged in rows on the jaws. The dorsal and anal fins are confluent with caudal fin. Pectoral fins are present, while ventral fins are absent.

Conger conger and a moray eel in one hole, at the Protected Marine Area of Portofino

Conger eels have habits similar to moray eels. They usually live amongst rocks in holes, or "eel pits", sometimes in one hole together with moray eels. They come out from their holes at night to hunt. These nocturnal predators mainly feed on fish, cephalopods, and crustaceans, although they are thought to scavenge on dead and rotting fish, as well as actively hunt live fish.[2]

Distribution[edit]

This species can be found in the eastern Atlantic from Norway and Iceland to Senegal, and also in the Mediterranean and Black Sea[3] at 0–500 m of deep, although they may reach depths of 3600 m during their migrations.[4] It is sometimes seen in very shallow water by the shore, but can also go down to 1,170 m (3,840 ft). It is usually present on rough, rocky, broken ground, close to the coast when young, moving to deeper waters when adult.

Migration and reproduction[edit]

When conger eels are between 5 and 15 years old, their bodies undergo a transformation, with the reproductive organs of both males and females increasing in size and the skeleton reducing in mass and the teeth falling out.[5] Conger eels then stop feeding and leave European waters and make the long migration to the subtropical areas of the Atlantic, such as the Sargasso Sea.[2] Once in this area, they spawn, with the female producing 3 to 8 million eggs. Once hatched, the larval conger eels begin to swim back to European waters, where they live until they reach maturity and then begin to migrate to repeat the cycle.[6]

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Conger conger". EOL Encyclopedia of Life. Retrieved 11 May 2014. 
  2. ^ a b "Conger Eel". BritishSeaFishing.co.uk. Retrieved 9 May 2014. 
  3. ^ "Conger conger". WoRMS - World Register of Marine Species. Retrieved 12 May 2014. 
  4. ^ "Conger Eel". UK-Fish.info. Retrieved 12 May 2014. 
  5. ^ "Article - Conger Eel". Galway Atlantaquaria. Retrieved 9 May 2014. 
  6. ^ "Conger Eel - Conger conger". Marlin.ac.uk. Retrieved 9 May 2014.