Eels are elusive ray-finned fish that due to their snake-like bodies often give people the creeps!
Every eel goes through a fascinating development, from the early larval phase of their life to their final adult phase.
Most eels tend to be predators, and can be grouped into freshwater or saltwater eels.
They belong to the order Anguilliformes, which has four suborders, 20 families, 111 genera, and a staggering 800 species!
Obviously we can’t talk about all of these in our article, so we’re going to discuss 12 of the most common types of eel.
Freshwater Eels Vs Saltwater Eels
How do you tell freshwater eels apart from saltwater eels? Well, freshwater eels have long bodies that resemble a snake, and they also have a merged elongated ridge-like fin.
While freshwater eels will migrate to bodies of saltwater to mate and breed, they tend to live in bodies of freshwater for most of their lives.
Meanwhile saltwater eels have longer, more cylindrical bodies and a more noticeable set of gills. All types of eels will travel to the Sargasso Sea in order to mate.
Conger Eels Vs Moray Eels
Now that we know the difference between freshwater and saltwater eels, let’s take a look at the difference between conger eels and moray eels.
Moray eels can be as small as 5 inches and as long as 13 feet in length.
Moray eels are carnivorous eels, so it’s definitely best to avoid the waters where they live! Moray eels can be found all over the world.
There are around 200 species of Moray in 15 genera, and while most of them will live in the sea, some species can be spotted in brackish water. You’re highly unlikely to find them in fresh water.
Conger eels don’t have scallions, but large heads, gill slits, and mouths, and powerful teeth.
They are usually black or gray, have pale bellies and black-tipped fins. They are also carnivorous, and can grow up to 10 ft in length.
Belonging to the spiny eel family, the black-spotted eel can grow up to 20 inches in length and is also known as the polka dot eel and the spotted spiny eel.
The half-banded eel can grow up to 8 inches long and has vertical bands wrapped around its body.
Half-bended eels are nocturnal and are commonly kept as pets, as long as it is surrounded by fish that are bigger than it.
Any smaller ones it will gobble up! It is one of the smallest eels, and has a long, pointy snout.
Found in tropical waters or temperate climates all over the world, the cutthroat eel can grow between 9.1 inches to 63.0 inches.
You can find them in deep water at around 12,100 ft.
The sawtooth eel gets its name from their inward-slanting teeth that almost resemble the teeth of humans.
Their teeth are attached to the vomer bone in the roof of their mouth.
Snipe eels can be found in oceans all over the world, at depths of 300 to 600 meters.
They can grow to 39-79 inches long. Snipe eels get their name due to the shape of their jaws, which resembles the snipe, which is part of a bird’s beak.
Found in the Northwestern Pacific Ocean, beach congers can grow up to 4 feet long.
Despite what their name suggests, they don’t normally venture out to the shoreline of beaches, but they do like to spend time in the shallow waters.
Dwelling in the Atlantic Ocean, the grey conger diet mainly consists of finfish, and can grow up to 62 inches long. However, its average length is 35 inches.
They’re also referred to as the Antillean conger, or simply just the conger eel.
You can find the grey conger in the ocean around Cuba, Saint Vincent, Jamaica, and all over northern parts of South America.
Longfin African Conger
The longfin African conger can exceed 4 feet in length, and lives 262 feet below the surface of the water.
The longfin African conger is also called the black fin conger and mainly dwells in the Indo-Pacific ocean in bodies of water such as the Red Sea.
It can also be found in the waters of East Africa and Easter Islands off the north-west coast of Japan and the Ogasawara Islands, off the coast of northern Australia and Lord Howe Island.
The origins of the whitespotted conger’s name is pretty simple.
It is named after the long line of white spots on its body. It has a snake-like body that can grow up to 36 inches in length.
The whitespotted conger lives in the sea off the Japanese Coast, as well as the East China Sea, and the Korean Peninsula.
You can find these eels in shallow waters, particularly those that are muddy and sandy. The whitespotted conger is also a popular dish in Japan.
The fimbriated moray can grow up to 2.5 ft long, and is known for its vibrant yellowish-green skin and black spots.
Their diet mainly consists of small fish. The fimbirated moray is also known as the dark-spotted moray, as well as the spot-face moray.
Giant morays are found in reefs in the Indo-Pacific ocean. When they grow into adults, giant morays develop specks that resemble leopard spots on their body.
Their diet consists mainly of fish, but they’re also partial to small crustaceans.
The giant moray eel is the largest type of moray eel, but not the longest. That honor goes to the slender giant moray.
Also referred to as the fine-spot moray, Snyder’s moray is the smallest type of eel at just 4 inches long.
It has a reddish-brown body that is covered in small white and brown spots.
While there are literally hundreds of eels we could talk about, these are 12 of the most common types of eels found in oceans all over the world.