The freshwater eels of the genus AnguillaSchrank are widely distributed. They have beenconsidered for a long time to all have acatadromous spawning strategy. However, in arecent work Tsukamoto et al. (2002)considered that catadromy should be seen asfacultative. They all have a long oceaniclarval stage known as the leptophalus stage. Alarge number of studies on their ecology,biology, and physiology exist but littleattention has been focused on their systematicsand species-relationships. Ege (1939)described 19 species and sub-species based onmorphometric data. Castle and Williamson (1974)made A. ancestralis a synonym of A.celebesensis. Morphological characters,however, have limitations as taxonomiccharacters because they overlapped in mostspecies. Biochemical characters, such asmt-DNA, are more informative. Dijkstra andJellyman (1999) found no genetic differencesbetween A. australis australis and A. a. schmidtti, and now 15 species arewidely recognized. Phylogenetic studies(Aoyama and Tsukamoto, 1997) suggestdescendant-ancestor relationships betweenAtlantic and Pacific eels, respectively. Themost likely dispersal route for the Atlanticeels from the Pacific appears to have beenthrough the Tethys Sea. Two species are foundin the Atlantic: A. anguilla and A.rostrata. They both spawn in the Sargasso Sea,but differ in morphometric and genetic traits,and are considered as two separate species witha relatively recent evolutionary divergence.The purpose of this paper is to presentknowledge and questions about the life history,taxonomy, and evolution of this mysteriousgenus.
Reviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries – Springer Journals
Published: Jan 15, 2005
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