• 1 Institute of Oceanography and Environment, Universiti Malaysia Terengganu Kuala Terengganu, Terengganu, 21030, Malaysia
Ecol Evol, 2014 Oct;4(19):3812-9.
PMID: 25614795 DOI: 10.1002/ece3.1245


Freshwater eels have fascinated biologists for centuries due to the spectacular long-distance migrations between the eels' freshwater habitats and their spawning areas far out in the ocean and the mysteries of their ecology. The spawning areas of Atlantic eels and Japanese eel were located far offshore in the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean, respectively, and their reproduction took place thousands of kilometers away from their growth habitats. Phylogenetic studies have revealed that freshwater eels originated in the Indonesian region. However, remarkably little is known about the life histories of tropical freshwater eels despite the fact that tropical eels are key to understanding the nature of primitive forms of catadromous migration. This study found spawning-condition tropical freshwater eels in Lake Poso, central Sulawesi, Indonesia, with considerably high gonadosomatic index values and with histologically fully developed gonads. This study provides the first evidence that under certain conditions, freshwater eels have conditions that are immediately able to spawn even in river downstream. The results suggest that, in contrast to the migrations made by the Atlantic and Japanese eels, freshwater eels originally migrated only short distances of <100 kilometers to local spawning areas adjacent to their freshwater growth habitats. Ancestral eels most likely underwent a catadromous migration from local short-distance movements in tropical coastal waters to the long-distance migrations characteristic of present-day temperate eels, which has been well established as occurring in subtropical gyres in both hemispheres.

* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.