European eel


Anguilla anguilla


A slender snake-like fish, I measure between 40 cm and 1.5 m in length and can weigh up to 4 kg.



I am the only fish to breed in the sea and live in freshwater the rest of the time. The Sargasso Sea off the coast of Florida is the spawning ground for all European eels. We then drift towards Europe as larvae (glass eels) and then elvers.


I live between three and 18 years in freshwater before migrating back to the Sargasso Sea to spawn.

Did you know?

I can breathe air so I am able to move around on land if forced to. I can breathe either using my gills as well as through my skin. My body is covered in mucus when I reach adulthood, which means I can crawl out of rivers and across the land to reach ponds or lakes.

Where and when can you find me in the reserve?


I live in fresh water rivers, streams, lakes and ponds.

When to spot me

I am mainly nocturnal and I become territorial as I grow.

Conservation status

  • Red list of freshwater fish in metropolitan France: Critically Endangered (CR).
  • Red list of endangered fish in Alsace: Critically Endangered (CR).

Over a hundred species referenced