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Overview

Brief Summary

The conger is also called a sea eel. Contrary to true eel, congers only live in sea water. They can reach up to three meters in length. Divers usually only see their head because they are often hiding between stones or in ship wrecks. It's not a good idea to pat a conger. They have very sharp teeth. There are stories of scuba divers that were swept for several meters by raging congers.
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Comprehensive Description

Conger conger ZBK (Linnaeus, 1758)

Aegean Sea : 3400-705 (1 spc.), August 2000 , Bozcaada Island , trammel net , 30 m, L. Eryilmaz . Mediterranean Sea : 3400-729 (1 spc.), October 2002 , Iskenderun Bay , trawl , C. Dalyan .

  • Nurettin Meriç, Lütfiye Eryilmaz, Müfit Özulug (2007): A catalogue of the fishes held in the Istanbul University, Science Faculty, Hydrobiology Museum. Zootaxa 1472, 29-54: 33-33, URL:http://www.zoobank.org/urn:lsid:zoobank.org:pub:428F3980-C1B8-45FF-812E-0F4847AF6786
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Biology

Found on rocky and sandy bottoms (Ref. 12382). Depth range from 0-500 m (Ref. 4453) and from 305-1171 m in the eastern Ionian Sea (Ref. 56504). It stays near the coast when young and moves toward deeper waters upon reaching adulthood (Ref. 5377). A nocturnal (Ref. 12382) predator of fish, crustaceans, and cephalopods (Ref. 6521). Like other species of the group, it reproduces only once in its life (Ref. 5377). Sexually mature at an age of 5-15 years. Spawn in summer in the Atlantic off Portugal and in the Mediterranean. Produces 3-8 million of eggs (Ref. 35388). Marketed fresh and frozen. Eaten fried and baked (Ref. 9988).
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Description

 Conger conger is a long, powerful fish with scaleless, smooth skin. They are usually grey-blue or grey-black in colour with a white or pale golden coloured belly. In deeper water they have a light brown back with grey sides and belly. The dorsal, tail and anal fins are fused making a complete fringe around the body. The dorsal fin starts just behind the tip of the pectoral fin and the anal fin terminates midway along the underside of the fish. Conger eels can grow to 2.75 m in length but are more commonly seen at around 2 m long.Conger eels spend their entire life in marine waters. Once they reach maturity, which takes between 5 -15 years, they migrate to deep water in the mid-Atlantic to spawn. Conger conger spawns only once and dies straight after. The larvae drift north eastwards until they reach shallower waters where larval development is completed (Wheeler, 1969). Conger conger could be confused with the common eel Anguilla anguilla. However, the conger eel has pointed pectoral fins, the upper jaw overhangs the lower and the dorsal fin originates from further forward on the body.
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Description

The conger eel has a long, cylindrical body and smooth, scaleless skin. The dorsal fin starts just above the tip of the pointed pectoral fins and runs the length of the body, joining with the tail and anal fins. Two small, tube-like nostrils are conspicuous on the tip of the snout. Congers are usually slatey blue in colour with a lighter underside. They are large marine eels that can grow to approximately 2.75m in length although most are less than 2m. Juvenile congers might sometimes be confused with the common eel (Anguilla anguilla) however the latter has rounded pectoral fins and the dorsal fin starts much further back on the body.
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Distribution

Eastern Atlantic: Norway and Iceland to Senegal. Also in the Mediterranean and Black Sea.
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Western Baltic Sea, North Sea, Mediterranean Sea, Black Sea, eastern Atlantic: Iceland and Norway to Senegal including Madeira and Canary Islands.
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This species is common and widespread all around the coasts of Britain and Ireland.
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Physical Description

Size

Maximum size: 3000 mm TL
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Max. size

300 cm TL (male/unsexed; (Ref. 4453)); max. published weight: 110.0 kg (Ref. 35388)
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Ecology

Habitat

Known from seamounts and knolls
  • Stocks, K. 2009. Seamounts Online: an online information system for seamount biology. Version 2009-1. World Wide Web electronic publication.
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benthic
  • North-West Atlantic Ocean species (NWARMS)
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Environment

demersal; oceanodromous (Ref. 51243); marine; depth range 0 - 1171 m (Ref. 56504)
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Depth range based on 2184 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 1444 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): -9 - 1000
  Temperature range (°C): 8.268 - 18.002
  Nitrate (umol/L): 1.069 - 17.472
  Salinity (PPS): 34.355 - 38.654
  Oxygen (ml/l): 4.081 - 6.346
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.147 - 1.053
  Silicate (umol/l): 1.642 - 9.536

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): -9 - 1000

Temperature range (°C): 8.268 - 18.002

Nitrate (umol/L): 1.069 - 17.472

Salinity (PPS): 34.355 - 38.654

Oxygen (ml/l): 4.081 - 6.346

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.147 - 1.053

Silicate (umol/l): 1.642 - 9.536
 
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.

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 During the day Conger conger are found in holes or crevices on rocky or sandy bottoms and in wrecks and other artificial environments. Conger eels become more active at night when they leave their resting places to hunt. Many Congers are found down to depths of 500 m but descend to as deep as 4000 m to spawn.
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Depth: 0 - 500m.
Recorded at 500 meters.

Habitat: bathydemersal.
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Congers are mostly encountered living amongst holes in rock or in artificial substrata such as wrecks, pier pilings, harbour walls etc. Young congers can sometimes be found in deep, seaweed covered rockpools on the low shore. They feed on a wide range of bottom-living fish, crabs and octopuses.
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Migration

Oceanodromous. Migrating within oceans typically between spawning and different feeding areas, as tunas do. Migrations should be cyclical and predictable and cover more than 100 km.
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Associations

Known predators

Conger conger is prey of:
Ciliata mustella
Aves

Based on studies in:
Portugal (Estuarine)

This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
  • L. Saldanha, Estudio Ambiental do Estuario do Tejo, Publ. no. 5(4) (CNA/Tejo, Lisbon, 1980).
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Known prey organisms

Conger conger preys on:
Cirratulidae
Capitellidae
Maldanidae
Engraulis encrasicolus
Sardina pilchardus
Carcinus maenas
Crangon crangon
Nereis diversicolor

Based on studies in:
Portugal (Estuarine)

This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
  • L. Saldanha, Estudio Ambiental do Estuario do Tejo, Publ. no. 5(4) (CNA/Tejo, Lisbon, 1980).
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Life History and Behavior

Life Cycle

Eggs are deposited in the open sea, at depths between 2,000 and 3,000 m (Ref. 12382).
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Barcode data: Conger conger

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


There is 1 barcode sequence available from BOLD and GenBank.

Below is the sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.

See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen.

Other sequences that do not yet meet barcode criteria may also be available.

GTAGGAACCGCATTAAGTCTGCTAATTCGAGCTGAATTAAGTCAACCTGGAGCTCTCCTTGGAGATGACCAGATCTATAATGTTATCGTAACAGCACATGCCTTTGTAATAATTTTCTTCATAGTAATACCAGTAATAATTGGAGGGTTTGGCAATTGACTAGTGCCACTAATAATTGGGGCCCCAGACATAGCATTTCCACGAATAAATAATATAAGCTTCTGATTATTACCTCCATCATTTCTTTTACTATTAACTTCATCTGGAGTTGAGGCCGGGGCAGGAACAGGATGAACTGTTTATCCCCCTCTGGCAGGGAATCTGGCCCACGCTGGAGCATCAGTTGACCTAACAATCTTTTCTCTACACCTAGCAGGAATTTCATCTATCCTTGGAGCTATTAACTTTATTACTACTATTATTAATATAAAACCACCAGCTACCACCCAATATCAAACCCCTCTATTTGTATGATCCGTTCTAGTCACCGCCGTACTGTTACTACTCTCCCTCCCAGTCCTTGCTGCCGGGATTACAATGCTTTTAACAGATCGAAATCTTAATACTACCTTCTTTGACCCAGCGGGTGGAGGGGACCCAATCCTTTACCAACACCTATTT
-- end --

Download FASTA File

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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Conger conger

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 15
Specimens with Barcodes: 28
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Threats

Not Evaluated
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Importance

fisheries: commercial; gamefish: yes; aquarium: public aquariums
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Wikipedia

European conger

The European conger, Conger conger, is a species of conger of the family Congridae. It is the largest eel in the world and native to the northeast Atlantic, including the Mediterranean Sea.

Description and behavior[edit]

European congers have a common length of 150 cm (59 in), a maximum length of 3 m (9.8 ft), and weigh up to 110 kg (240 lb),[1] making them the largest eels in the world.

The body is very long, anguilliform, without scales. The color is usually gray but can also be blackish. The belly is white. A row of white small spots is aligned along the lateral line. The head is almost conical, slightly depressed. The snout is rounded and prominent, with lateral olfactory holes. The large gill openings are in lateral position. The conical teeth are arranged in rows on jaws. The dorsal and anal fins are confluent with caudal. Pectoral fins are present, while ventral fins are absent.

Conger conger and a moray eel in one hole, at the Protected Marine Area of Portofino

The conger eels have habits similar to moray eels. They usually live amongst rocks in holes, or "eel pits", sometimes in one hole together with moray eels. They come out from their holes at night to hunt. This nocturnal predator mainly feeds on fish, cephalopods, and crustaceans, although they are thought to scavenge on dead and rotting fish as well as actively hunt live fish.[2]

Distribution[edit]

This species can be found in the eastern Atlantic from Norway and Iceland to Senegal, and also in the Mediterranean and Black Sea.[3] Conger conger ranges from 0–500 m of depth, although they may reach depths of 3600 m during their migrations.[4] It is sometimes seen in very shallow water by the shore, but can also go down to depths of 1,170 m (3,840 ft). It is usually present on rough rocky broken ground, close to the coast when young, moving to deeper waters when adult.

Migration and reproduction[edit]

When conger eels are aged between 5–15 years their body undergoes a transformation with the reproductive organs of both males and females increasing in size and the skeleton reducing in mass and the teeth falling out.[5] Conger eels will then stop feeding and leave European waters and make the long migration to the sub-tropical areas of the Atlantic such as the Sargasso Sea.[2] Once in this area conger eels will spawn with the female producing anywhere from 3-8 million eggs. Once hatched the larval conger eels will begin to swim back to European waters where they will live until they reach maturity and then begin to migrate themselves to repeat the cycle.[6]

Gallery[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Conger conger". EOL Encyclopedia of Life. Retrieved 11 May 2014. 
  2. ^ a b "Conger Eel". BritishSeaFishing.co.uk. Retrieved 9 May 2014. 
  3. ^ "Conger conger". WoRMS - World Register of Marine Species. Retrieved 12 May 2014. 
  4. ^ "Conger Eel". UK-Fish.info. Retrieved 12 May 2014. 
  5. ^ "Article - Conger Eel". Galway Atlantaquaria. Retrieved 9 May 2014. 
  6. ^ "Conger Eel - Conger conger". Marlin.ac.uk. Retrieved 9 May 2014. 
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