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Eel migration: How scientists tracked European eels to the Sargasso Sea



The place European eels begin and finish their lives was lengthy a thriller, however an audacious expedition has lastly revealed the final particulars of their unbelievable migration


16 January 2023

Mathieu Foulquie/Biosphoto/Minden Photos

RIGHT now, tens of millions of sinuous, silvery fish are swimming determinedly throughout the Atlantic Ocean. They’re snake-like, greater than a metre lengthy and have big, bulbous eyes. They left their houses in Europe in late autumn and have been navigating westwards ever since, typically swimming towards the currents that after carried them the opposite manner. They journey alone at a languid tempo, by no means stopping to relaxation. By evening they’re close to the floor; by day within the depths. Their journey will take greater than a 12 months. Many received’t make it. However those who do have a reward awaiting them: intercourse and dying within the Sargasso Sea.

That is the final word objective, and destiny, of the European eel (Anguilla anguilla), a exceptional and enigmatic species that has nourished the human creativeness, and stomach, for millennia. Their life cycle is fascinating and their last journey, the small print of which have solely just lately been found, is jaw-dropping. “This is a species which is notoriously difficult to understand,” says eel knowledgeable Jack Wootton of the Forth Rivers Belief in Edinburgh, UK. What we do know for sure is that the European eel is critically endangered and wishes assist to get well, or woe betide it and the ecosystems it nourishes.

This species begins life removed from Europe within the Sargasso Sea, a area within the western Atlantic that’s outlined by the 4 ocean currents that kind its boundaries. From December to Might grownup eels spawn there, and their larvae – often called leptocephali – begin an extended journey to Europe and North Africa. They’re largely carried by the prevailing currents, which drag on …

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