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Contact information
For information on Wisconsin's rare animals, contact:
Rich Staffen
Conservation Biologist
608-266-4340

American Eel (Anguilla rostrata)


Overview

Overview

American eel (Anguilla rostrata), a State Special Concern fish, prefers large streams, rivers and lakes with muddy bottoms and still waters. To reach these conditions the eel has to traverse a wide variety of less suitable habitat including swift-flowing waters with a wide variety of substrates. Spawning occurs in the Sargasso Sea.

State status

Status and Natural Heritage Inventory documented occurrences in Wisconsin

The table below provides information about the protected status - both state and federal - and the rank (S and G Ranks) for American Eel (Anguilla rostrata). See the Working List Key for more information about abbreviations. Counties shaded blue have documented occurrences for this species in the Wisconsin Natural Heritage Inventory database. The map is provided as a general reference of where occurrences of this species meet NHI data standards and is not meant as a comprehensive map of all observations.

Note: Species recently added to the NHI Working List may temporarily have blank occurrence maps.


Documented locations of Anguilla rostrata in the Natural Heritage Inventory Database as of July 2015.
Summary Information
State StatusSC/N
Federal Status in Wisconsinnone
State RankS2
Global RankG4
Tracked by NHIY
WWAP SGCN

Species guidance


A guidance document is not available at this time. Use the information from the other tabs and contact local biologists, as needed, to develop management and avoidance strategies.

Photos/Video

Photos


American Eel

The body shows an elongated shape; pelvic fins are lacking; the dorsal and anal fins are continuous with tail.

Photo by John Lyons, WDNR.

American Eel

Close-up of juvenile head: Juveniles are similar to adults.

Photo by John Lyons, WDNR.

American Eel

Side view of juvenile: Juveniles are similar to adults.

Photo by John Lyons, WDNR.

American Eel

The flank shows small, inconspicuous, embedded scales.

Photo by John Lyons, WDNR.

American Eel

Note gill slit at base of pectoral fin.

Photo by John Lyons, WDNR.

American Eel

Juvenile specimen in hand.

Photo by John Lyons, WDNR.

American Eel

Close-up mouth and snout.

Photo by John Lyons, WDNR.

American Eel

Head-on view (juvenile).

Photo by John Lyons, WDNR.

American Eel

Close-up pectoral fin.

Photo by John Lyons, WDNR.

American Eel

Bottom view of adult.

Photo by John Lyons, WDNR.

American Eel

Close-up dorsal fin.

Photo by John Lyons, WDNR.

American Eel

Top view of adult.

Photo by John Lyons, WDNR.

American Eel

Close-up anal fin.

Photo by John Lyons, WDNR.

American Eel

Side view adult.

Photo by John Lyons, WDNR.

American Eel

Side view adult.

Photo by John Lyons, WDNR.

American Eel

Side view adult.

Photo by John Lyons, WDNR.

American Eel

Close-up flank.

Photo by John Lyons, WDNR.

American Eel

Close-up head.

Photo by John Lyons, WDNR.

American Eel

Close-up tail.

Photo by John Lyons, WDNR.

American Eel

American eel.

Photo © Duane Raver.

American Eel

Jaws.

Photo by John Lyons, WDNR.


Wildlife Action Plan

Wisconsin Wildlife Action Plan graphic

Natural community (habitat) associations

The table below lists the natural communities that are associated with American Eel. Only natural communities for which American Eel is "high" (score=3) or "moderate" (score=2) associated are shown. See the key to association scores for complete definitions. Please see the Wildlife Action Plan to learn how this information was developed.

Natural community Score

Ecological landscape associations

The table below lists the ecological landscape association scores for American Eel. The scores correspond to the map (3=High, 2=Moderate, 1=Low, 0=None). For more information, please see the Wildlife Action Plan.

This map shows the probability of American Eel occurring in each of Wisconsin's Ecological Landscapes.  Actual scores can be found in the table to the left.


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Landscape-Community combinations of highest ecological priority*

Ecological priorities are the combinations of natural communities and ecological landscapes that provide Wisconsin's best opportunities to conserve important habitats for a given Species of Greatest Conservation Need. The 10 highest scoring combinations are considered ecological priorities and are listed below. More than 10 combinations are listed if multiple combinations tied for 10th place. For more information, please see the Wildlife Action Plan.


* Ecological priority score is a relative measure that is not meant for comparison between species. This score does not consider socio-economical factors that may dictate protection and/or management priorities differently than those determined solely by ecological analysis. Further, a low ecological priority score does not imply that management or preservation should not occur on a site if there are important reasons for doing so locally.

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Issues/threats and conservation actions

Conservation actions respond to issues or threats, which adversely affect species of greatest conservation need (SGCN) or their habitats. Besides actions such as restoring wetlands or planting resilient tree species in northern communities, research, surveys and monitoring are also among conservation actions described in the WWAP because lack of information can threaten our ability to successfully preserve and care for natural resources.

Threats/issues and conservations actions for rare animals

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Last revised: Thursday, May 04, 2017