Relative Abundance, Food Habits, and Age of the American Eel, Anguilla rostrata (LeSueur), in Certain New Jersey Streams

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American eels, Anguilla rostrata (LeSueur), were collected from 8 New Jersey streams. Three areas on the Big Flatbrook were selected for intensive examination. Eels comprised 37% of the total weight and 20% of the total number of the 25 species of fishes collected on the Flatbrook. The weight of eels was exceeded only by the white sucker (Catostomus commersoni). Stomach content analysis of eels showed a gradual increase in size of food organisms taken with increase in size of eels. Ephemeroptera, Megaloptera, and Trichoptera were most prevalent in smaller eels (less than 40 cm) while fish and Crustacea were more frequently found in larger specimens (greater than 40 cm). Stomach contents reflected the relative abundance of organisms in bottom samples. Of the fish taken by eels as prey, bottom dwelling and sluggish species were most prevalent. Age determinations by otolith ring counts of 169 specimens showed a range of ages from 3 (less than 14.5 cm long) to 19 (approximately 85 cm long) years with a mean of 10 years.

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Transactions of the American Fisheries Society , v. 99, issue 1, p. 54-59