Investigations into the Origin(s) of the Freshwater Attractant(s) of the American Eel

  • Peter W. Sorensen


Anguillid eels are thought to spawn in mid-ocean gyres and after spending a year or more as drifting larvae metamorphose into elvers (juveniles). Elvers possess a strong tendency to swim into fresh water. As this tendency is not shown by olfactory-ablated animals (Hain, 1975), or in charcoal-filtered, aged, or well water (Creutzberg, 1961; Miles, 1968) a chemical attractant is thought responsible. Because elvers do not consistently prefer the water from which they were collected the attractant is thought to be innately recognized (Miles, 1968). Teichmann (1957) showed eels to detect odorants at concentrations of 1:2.9 × 10−18 molar, giving them the best sense of smell among the fishes.


Sockeye Salmon Aquatic Weed Artifical Pond Water Larva Metamorphose Chemical Attractant 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter W. Sorensen
    • 1
  1. 1.Graduate School of OceanographyUniversity of Rhode IslandNarragansettUSA

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