Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Osteichthyes
Order Anguilliformes
Family Anguillidae
Genus Anguilla
Species anguilla
Classification Linnaeus, 1758
Common name eel
Size up to 150 centimeters
Male weight 200 grams
Female weight 2 kilograms

Geographic Range it lives in brackish waters and in any other kind of inland water.
Physical Characteristics it has a very elongated body, characterised by cylindrical section towards the front and compressed on the flanks in the tail area; very dark back, yellowish or grey belly; the dorsal, caudal and anal fins have melted in one fin; no ventral fins; very slippery little scales and slippery skin because of the abundant mucus produced by the skin cells.
Behaviour reproduction occurs in the Atlantic Ocean (Sargasso Sea). Young larvae (leptocephalous larvae) migrate towards the fresh waters of the European coasts during the first three years of life. They reach the mouth of big rivers in the third year, when they are 6-7 centimeters long (elvers). They swim up the rivers and they live in every kind of inland waters. They grow up in fresh waters until they reach sexual maturity (8-10 years). Once they have reached it, they stop feeding and begin to migrate towards the sea. The adults die after reproduction, after having travelled for 5000-7000 km. They live in dens during the day and go out in search for food during the night. They spend winter hidden in the mud.
Notes the blood of the eel contains a toxin (ichtyoxin, i.e. a fish-killing toxin) that acts on the nervous system and that can be dangerous for humans if it is touched by someone having cuts or wounds on their skin. That is the reason why mammals or carnivorous fishes do not hunt it.
Habitat it is catadromous: it swims from rivers towards the sea in order to reproduce. It prefers environments characterised by slimy bottoms, even if it adapts itself to any soft water environments.
Food habits water invertebrates, small fishes and fish eggs waiting for hatching, frogs, tadpoles and worms.
Status in the lagoon it is found in all waters of the province of Venice, including the Lagoon. There are many eels in the waters of Eastern Veneto.

References CNR Istituto per lo Studio degli Ecosistemi - Sezione di Idrobiologia ed Ecologia delle Acque Interne - Verbania Pallanza
La fauna ittica dell provincia di Venezia - E. Marconato, G. Maio, S. Salviati - Assessorato alla Caccia, Pesca e Polizia Provinciale della Provincia di Venezia
Fiumi, laghi, ruscelli - Guida ai biotopi: piante e animali nel loro ambiente naturale - E. Pott - Gremese Editore
Web References http://www.iii.to.cnr.it/
Source of the photo http://www.st-and.ac.uk/~seeb/ferg/px/Silvereel.gif

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