Longfin Eel

Longfin eel (Anguilla dieffenbachia) is one of two native eel species found in New Zealand. They can be distinguished from shortfin eels by the length of the top fin which is, when viewed side-on, longer than the bottom fin. The species generally has a yellowish belly, grows up to over 400mm in length and is the largest freshwater eel species found in New Zealand. They need access to and from the sea to complete their life cycle. Their juveniles are very good 'climbers' and can be found well inland in most river systems, even those with natural barriers such as steep falls. Adults can move overland to find new, suitable habitats and live in rivers, streams, lakes ponds and wetlands. Longfin eels are carnivores and they feed mostly on small fish and crustacea. They play an important role as kai moana for Maori and support a major commercial and customary fishery in New Zealand. Longfin eels are ranked as ‘At Risk – Declining’ in the latest Conservation Status of New Zealand Freshwater Fish 2014.