Eel Biology pp 51-60 | Cite as


  • Noritaka Mochioka


The anguillid leptocephalus is one of the most distinctive larvae of anguilliform fishes and has an olive leaf-like shape, no melanophores, and relatively few myomeres. The smallest anguillid larvae (Anguilla anguilla) ever collected was about 5 mm in total length (TL) and the larva contained a large, quite distinct oil globule (Schmidt 1922). The sizes of full-grown larvae are variable among species, ranging from 50 to 80 mm TL (Jespersen 1942; Castle 1963; Tabeta and Takai 1975; Smith 1989). Recent progress in otolith microstructure analysis has provided considerable knowledge about the growth and developmental events of the larvae (Tabeta et al. 1987; Umezawa et al. 1989; Tsukamoto et al. 1989, 1992; Otake et al. 1994; Arai et al. 2001). Furthermore, recent studies have finally confirmed longtime speculation about the diet of leptocephali by the discovery of detrital materials such as larvacean houses and zooplankton fecal pellets in their gut (Otake et al. 1993; Otake and Mochioka 1994; Mochioka and Iwamizu 1996; Otake 1996). In this chapter, I review recent studies on the leptocephalus larvae and discuss future research possibilities.


Early Life History Anguilliform Fish Otolith Microstructure Analysis Zooplankton Fecal Pellet Leptocephalus Stage 
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© Springer-Verlag Tokyo 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Noritaka Mochioka
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratory of Fisheries Biology, Division of Marine Bioresources, Department of Animal and Marine Bioresource Sciences, Faculty of AgricultureKyushu UniversityHigashi-ku, FukuokaJapan

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