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Collection of spawning-condition eels of Ariosoma meeki in the Kuroshio Current in the East China Sea

  • Shun Watanabe (a1), Seishi Hagihara (a2), Michael J. Miller (a1), Masamichi Machida (a3), Kosei Komatsu (a3), Shuhei Nishida (a3) and Katsumi Tsukamoto (a1)...


When and where marine eels spawn is poorly known even though species such as those of the family Congridae, Muraenidae and Ophichthidae can be caught in continental shelf habitats. The congrid genus Ariosoma includes small continental shelf eel species whose life histories are not yet known. Mature male and female eels of Ariosoma meeki were observed and captured on 17 August 2009 at the surface at night in the western side of the Kuroshio Current in the East China Sea close to new moon, while they were swimming slowly at the surface and exhibiting apparent reproduction-related behaviour. One male and one sex-unidentified eel (seemingly a male based on body shape) were observed to be chasing one larger female with their heads located near her urogenital pore area. The gonads of the female (540 mm) and the male (410 mm) that were caught by a long-handled dip net were in reproductive condition, because some eggs or seminal fluid were released during handling of the two specimens and high gonad-somatic index (GSI) values of 53 in the female and 20 in the male were recorded. This is one of the few cases in which fully ripe reproductive-condition marine eels have been observed or collected and it provides rare information about the spawning location and timing of this eel species.


Corresponding author

Correspondence should be addressed to: S. Watanabe, College of Bioresource Sciences, Nihon University, 1866 Kameino, Fujisawa-shi, Kanagawa 252-0880, Japan email:


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