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Garden eels
Heteroconger hassi 1.JPG
The spotted Heteroconger hassi and striped Gorgasia preclara
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Anguilliformes
Family: Congridae
Subfamily: Heterocongrinae
Günther, 1870


Garden eels

The garden eels are the subfamily Heterochongrinae in the conger eel family Congridae. The majority of garden eels live in the Indo-Pacific, but species are also found in warmer parts of the Atlantic Ocean (including the Caribbean) and East Pacific.[1][2] These small eels live in burrows on the sea floor and get their name from their practice of poking their heads from their burrows while most of their bodies remain hidden. Since they tend to live in groups, the many eel heads "growing" from the sea floor resemble the plants in a garden. They vary greatly in colour depending on the exact species involved. The largest species reaches about 120 cm (47 in) in length, but most species do not surpass 60 cm (24 in).[1][2] Garden eel colonies can grow as large as one acre in surface area.[3]


Based on FishBase, about 10 species of garden eels are in two genera:[1][4]


  1. ^ a b c Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2012). Species of Congridae in FishBase. July 2012 version.
  2. ^ a b Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2012). Species of Heterochonger in FishBase. July 2012 version.
  3. ^ Doubilet, David. "The Best Images from 2019's Wildlife Photographer of the Year Competition". Weather.com. TWC Product and Technology LLC. Retrieved 26 October 2019.
  4. ^ Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2012). Species of Heteroconger in FishBase. July 2012 version.