Anguilla australis and A. marmorata leptocephali Click to enlarge image
Leptocephali of the Southern Shortfin Eel, Anguilla australis, and Giant Mottled Eel, A. marmorata. The specimens are 42 mm and 51 mm long respectively. Image: Michael Miller
© Michael Miller

Fast Facts

  • Classification
    Species
    australis
    Genus
    Anguilla
    Family
    Anguillidae
    Order
    Anguilliformes
    Class
    Actinopterygii
    Subphylum
    Vertebrata
    Phylum
    Chordata
    Kingdom
    Animalia
  • Size Range
    It grows to about 90 cm in length.

Identification

The Southern Shortfin Eel is the only freshwater eel in southern Australian waters with a uniform body colouration.


Xanthic Southern Shortfin Eel

A rare xanthic (an unusual colour variety in which the normal colouration of a fish is largely replaced by yellow pigments.) Southern Shortfin Eel, Anguilla australis, caught by Lawrie McEnally in Christmas creek, Frederickton, near Kempsey, New South Wales, 28 July 2013.

The fish was exported to China where it currently lives as a showpiece in a Shanghai restaurant aquarium. Thank you to Ken Shingleton for initially sending the image to the Australian Museum for identification.

Image: Lawrie McEnally
© Lawrie McEnally

Habitat

It lives in still, often turbid, freshwaters. Mature eels migrate to sea to spawn and young eels return to freshwater habitats.

Distribution

The species occurs widely throughout the Western Pacific region.

The map below shows the Australian distribution of the species based on public sightings and specimens in Australian Museums. Click on the map for detailed information. Source: Atlas of Living Australia.



References

  1. Allen, G.R., Midgley, S.H. & M. Allen. 2002. Field Guide to the Freshwater Fishes of Australia. Western Australian Museum. Pp. 394.
  2. Hoese, D.F., Bray, D.J., Paxton, J.R. & G.R. Allen. 2006. Fishes. In Beesley, P.L. & A. Wells. (eds) Zoological Catalogue of Australia. Volume 35. ABRS & CSIRO Publishing: Australia. parts 1-3, pages 1-2178.