Biological Invasions

, Volume 11, Issue 6, pp 1301–1309 | Cite as

Validation of the occurrence of the American eel Anguilla rostrata (Le Sueur, 1817) in free-draining European inland waters

  • Jens FrankowskiEmail author
  • Sabine Jennerich
  • Thomas Schaarschmidt
  • Claus Ubl
  • Karl Jürss
  • Ralf Bastrop
Original Paper


The screening of 2,735 eels from European waters and aquaculture farms was conducted using mitochondrial Cytochrome b and 16S rRNA gene fragments amplified by polymerase chain reaction. Reaction products were either sequenced directly or subjected to analysis using restriction fragment length polymorphism which resulted in species-specific restriction patterns. Beside the expected European eel, Anguilla anguilla (Linnaeus, 1758), the American eel, Anguilla rostrata (Le Sueur, 1817), was also identified in samples from both aquaculture (N = 40 out of 1,025) and from natural waters (N = 44 out of 1,710). The life stages of American eels identified from several German waters draining to either the Baltic Sea and the North Sea ranged from elver to silver eels. This indicates that stocking with glass eels or elvers must have occurred several times most likely in the period from 1998 to 2002. The application of a fast and precise method for species identification and genetic monitoring of eels delivered for stocking is therefore essential for maintaining the autochthonous species composition in future.


Anguilla anguilla Anguilla rostrata Biological invasion Molecular markers PCR/RFLP Species identification 



We would like to thank Hans Joachim Jennerich, Director of the Institute of Fisheries (State Research Centre Mecklenburg-Vorpommern), Dietmar Lill (representative for all the eel-people from the Association Fish and Environment), Erik Fladung from the Federal Research Institute of Inland Fisheries in Potsdam-Sacrow and the colleagues from Saxonia, Brandenburg and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern for providing high quality samples and fruitful discussions. We also wish to thank two anonymous reviewers for their comments on the manuscript and we are very grateful to Marc Taimour Jolly for the English correction. This study is incorporated in the “Development of a Management Plan for the sustainable use of European eel (Anguilla anguilla) in the inland and coastal waters of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern”, funded by the Financial instrument for Fisheries Guidance of the European Commission.

Supplementary material

10530_2008_9337_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (38 kb)
(PDF 38 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jens Frankowski
    • 1
    Email author
  • Sabine Jennerich
    • 2
  • Thomas Schaarschmidt
    • 3
  • Claus Ubl
    • 4
  • Karl Jürss
    • 1
  • Ralf Bastrop
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut für Biowissenschaften, TierphysiologieUniversität RostockRostockGermany
  2. 2.Association Fish and EnvironmentFederal Research Institute of Fisheries Mecklenburg-VorpommernRostockGermany
  3. 3.The German Oceanographic MuseumStralsundGermany
  4. 4.State Research Centre Mecklenburg-VorpommernInstitute of FisheriesRostockGermany

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