Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Anguilliformes (Eels and morays)
Family: Congridae (Conger and garden eels)
Genus/species: Heteroconger hassi
GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Up to 40 cm in length with a body diameter of about 14 mm. Pectoral fins are minute. Color is variable with tiny spots covering the body including three large black spots, two of which are usually visible. The third spot is on the anus, which is usually in the burro.
DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Indo-Pacific: Red Sea and East Africa to the Society Islands; tropical, between
30 degrees N to 23 degrees S. Found on sandy bottoms near a reef at depths of 7–45 m (22-140 FT) with some current.
DIET IN THE WILD: Microscopic animals in the water column.
REPRODUCTION: During mating season, males and females move their burrows closer together. With tails remaining in their burrows, they meet and entwine bodies. Males defend the females they have chosen. After mating the fertilized eggs are released into the current and float near the surface in the open ocean. The eggs hatch out and the larvae float until the eels are large enough to swim down and make a burrow.
REMARKS: Garden eels are usually found in colonies containing up to several hundred,
even thousands of individuals. The garden eel drives its pointy tail into the sand to create a burrow. Secretions from the skin harden and stabilize burrow sides. Part of the eel’s body remains in the burrow as it faces the current to feed. When approached, the animal withdraws into its burrow for
LOCATION: Philippine coral reef
Taken on August 7, 2007, 9-10-12, 3/7/14
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