PORT PHILLIP BAY


Southern Shortfin Eel 

Anguilla australis Richardson, 1841

View scientific description and taxonomy

Scientific Details

Meristics.
Dorsal fin spines/rays: many
Anal fin spines/rays: many
Caudal fin rays: about 10
Pectoral fin rays: 15-19
Vertebrae: 109-116

Interpreting fin count meristics.
Spines are in Roman numerals and soft rays are in Arabic numerals. Spines and rays that are continuous in one fin are separated by a comma. Fin sections are separated by semicolons.

Detailed descriptions of fin count and other mersitics are in:
Gomon. M.F., Bray, D.J. & Kuiter, R.H. (eds) (2008) Fishes of Australia's Southern Coast. Sydney : Reed New Holland 928 pp.

Order level detail.
Body usually very long, slender, with long-based dorsal and anal fins continuous with the tail fin (if present) in all but one species. All species lack pelvic fins, and some groups lack pectoral fins. Scales are usually absent, or if present, are embedded in skin. All species pass through a pelagic, ribbon- or leaf-like larval stage called a leptocephalus larva.

Family level detail.
Long robust eels with long-based dorsal and anal fins that are continuous with the tail fin, small pectoral fins, a well-developed lateral line and minute embedded scales. Freshwater eels all belong to the genus Anguilla and spend most of their lives in freshwater before migrating far from home to breed in deep oceanic waters.

Taxonomy

Phylum:
Chordata
Subphylum:
Craniata
Superclass:
Gnathostomata
Class:
Actinopterygii
Order:
Anguilliformes
Family:
Anguillidae
Genus:
Anguilla
Species:
australis

General Description

Body long, cylindrical, with united dorsal, caudal and anal fins; dorsal fin arising above or slightly before the anal fin. To 1.1 m.

Biology

Southern Shortfin Eels have a catadromous life-cycle, spending 20 years or more in freshwaters before they migrate to the open sea to breed. They spawn in deepwaters of the Coral Sea, and the transparent eel leptocephalus larvae are pelagic in the open ocean. The larvae metamorphose into glass eels which then migrate into estuaries before transforming into juvenile eels, called elvers.

Habitat

Coastal drainages, in streams, lowland rivers, lakes and swamps, generally with low or no flow as juveniles and adults.

Reefs

Soft substrates

Distribution guide

South-western Pacific. Eastern and south-eastern Australia.

Species Group

Fishes Eels

Depth

Shallow (1-30 m)

Water Column

On or near sea floor

Max Size

1.1 m

Commercial Species

Yes

Global Dispersal

Native to Australia

Conservation Status

  • DSE Advisory List : Not listed
  • EPBC Act 1999 : Not listed
  • IUCN Red List : Not listed

Author

article author Bray, D.J.

Di Bray is a Senior Collection Manager of ichthyology at Museum Victoria.

Author

article author Gomon, M.F.

Dr. Martin Gomon is a Senior Curator of ichthyology at Museum Victoria.

citation

Cite this page as:
Bray, D.J. & Gomon, M.F., 2011, Southern Shortfin Eel, Anguilla australis, in Taxonomic Toolkit for marine life of Port Phillip Bay, Museum Victoria, accessed 18 Dec 2017, http://portphillipmarinelife.net.au:8098/species/6273

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