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Marine Animal Encyclopedia

Conger Eel Conger conger

The large, gray head of a conger eel sticking out of a hole in a shipwreck is a familiar sight to many divers. Like their relatives the moray eels, conger eels hide in holes and crevices in rocky reefs during the day, only emerging at night to hunt for fish, crustaceans, and cuttlefish. This snake-like fish has a powerful body with smooth skin, no scales, and a pointed tail. A single dorsal fin runs along the conger eel's back, starting a short distance behind the head, continuing around the tail, and ending halfway along the belly.

In the summer, adult conger eels migrate into deep water in the Mediterranean and Atlantic to spawn and then die. The female conger eel lays 3–8 million eggs, which hatch into long, thin larvae that slowly drift back inshore, where they grow into juvenile eels. They take 5–15 years to reach sexual maturity. The conger eel is a good food fish and is caught in large numbers by anglers, but it sometimes manages to use its strength to escape with the bait.

Conger Eelzoom image
  • Order Anguilliformes
  • Length Up to 10 ft (3 m)
  • Weight Up to 240 lb (110 kg)
  • Depth 1,600 ft (0–500 m)
  • Distribution Temperate waters of northeastern Atlantic and Mediterranean
Conger Eel habitat mapzoom image