Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 3, Issue 2, pp 203–209 | Cite as

Telemetric observations on the spawning migration of the eel (Anguilla anguilla) west of the European continental shelf

  • Friedrich-Wilhelm Tesch
Main Articles


In the Northern Bay of Biscay and west of the Iberian continental shelf five silver eels (Anguilla anguilla L.) have been tagged with ultrasonic transmitters and tracked 13 to 23 hours over a depth of 200 to 2500 m. Their mean direction from release to the final position of tracking was 288° and significantly closer to the direction of the Sargasso Sea (250° west) than silver eels tracked earlier in the North Sea (341°), possibly 260°. Four of the transmitters were equipped with pressure sensing devices capable of indicating depths of at least 400 m. Three eels tracked at night, during full moon, preferred mean depths of 125, 166 or 215 m. One eel chose a depth of 100 m during moonlight and 50 m after the setting of the moon. Major depth changes, usually occurring one per hour, ranged up to a maximum of 200 m at a maximum vertical speed of 0.6 m sec−1; this is close to the eels' normal horizontal speed. At dawn all but one dived to a depth of 400 m or more. The eels generally swam below the thermocline and often crossed it.


European eel Vertical movements Continental slope North-East Atlantic Ultrasonic telemetry 


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Copyright information

© Dr. W. Junk bv Publishers 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • Friedrich-Wilhelm Tesch
    • 1
  1. 1.Biologische Anstalt Helgoland (Zentrale)HamburgGermany

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