Eel Biology pp 141-155 | Cite as

Spawning Areas of the Atlantic Eels

  • James D. McCleave


In 1904, when the Danish biologist, Johannes Schmidt, aboard the steam research vessel Thor captured a 7-cm-long leptocephalus of the European eel west of the Faroe Islands in the northeastern North Atlantic Ocean (Schmidt 1906),the chase was on! In fact, it was only in 1893 that the Italian zoologists B. Grassi and S. Calandruccio determined that the species known as Leptocephalus brevirostris was the larval form of the European eel (Grassi 1896), known then as Anguilla vulgaris and now as Anguilla anguilla. The Thor specimen and one other collected west of Ireland in the same year were the first specimens to be captured outside the Mediterranean Sea, where Grassi and Calandruccio believed the eels spawned. In 1905, Schmidt captured further specimens, all large (60-88 mm), along the continental slope between the Faroes and Ireland, convincing himself that northern European eels spawned in the Atlantic far from the coasts (Schmidt 1906).


Oceanographical Expedition Subtropical Convergence Zone Small Leptocephali Subtropical Frontal Zone Myomere Number 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Tokyo 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • James D. McCleave
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Marine SciencesUniversity of MaineOronoUSA

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