Eel Biology pp 181-190 | Cite as

The Processes of Onshore Migration of the Japanese Eel Anguilla japonica as Revealed by Otolith Microstructure

  • Wann-Nian Tzeng


The anguillid eel is a catadromous fish that spawns in the ocean and grows in rivers (Tesch 1977). There are 15 species and 3 subspecies in the world (Castle and Williamson 1974), most of which breed in tropical waters (Schmidt 1922, 1925, Ege 1939). The transparent leaf-like leptocephalus larvae are transported by subtropical currents from spawning areas and metamorphose into glass eels on the continental shelf. Glass eels drift with the coastal current to the estuary and become pigmented elvers. Most elvers migrate upstream to become yellow eels. The Japanese eel resides in rivers for 5 to 10 years until silvering and beginning sexual maturation, after which they migrate to the sea to spawn during autumn (Tzeng et al. 2000a). Otolith microchemistry studies have indicated that some yellow eels do not migrate into rivers but stay in marine and estuarine waters until their spawning migration (Tsukamoto et al. 1998; Tzeng et al. 2000b) (Fig.1).


Coastal Current Kuroshio Current Fish Otolith Otolith Increment Otolith Microstructure 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Tokyo 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wann-Nian Tzeng
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Zoology, College of ScienceNational Taiwan UniversityTaipei, Taiwan 106ROC

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