Il-Magħluq’s fish fauna – The Common Eel

An article published yesterday on MaltaToday speaks about the killifish re-population in the Marsaskala marshlands, known as il-Magħluq. Killifish is not the only fish fauna to inhabit the Magħluq area. Here is some very interesting information about the common eel, brought to our portal by Mr. Rio Sammut.

File:FMIB 51807 Common Eel, Anguilla chrisypa Rafinesque Holyoke, Mass.jpeg

Here is some info about the common eel; a predator found in the Magħluq of Marsaskala. It is a natural inhabitant of the fishpond as much as the killifish.

70. Anguilla anguilla (Linnaeus) E. Common European Eel I. Anguilla Europea M. Sallura

Max length: 1.4m

Max. weight: 3kg

Characteristics: Typical elongated body with a smallish head; inconspicuous pair of eyes set over the mouth; large jaws, lower slightly longer than upper; minute concealed scales making the skin proverbially slippery; the dorsal fin starts far back and blends with the caudal and anal fins all around the tail end; may be silvery grey or yellowish above with a white underside.

Elvers are called leptocephali and appear small, leaf-like, and transparent, with a minute head.

Habits: The adults slip gracefully and effortlessly between rocks and weeds at the bottom of shallow water. They often conceal themselves in rock crevices, or in soft mud, with only their head exposed, expecting any small creature to pass by and be devoured. They occur quite frequently in all muddy inlets.

The elvers start life in the Sargasso Sea and swim thousands of kilometres across the ocean while feeding and growing into the adult shape. The journey may take up to three years. On arrival at inshore waters the young eels swim up streams or rivers to find a fresh water lake or pond where to spend the greater part of their adult life, about seven years for males and twelve years for females. On approaching sexual maturity they migrate back to the sea for spawning. In the Mediterranean Sea there are seventeen similar species. The Common Eel is edible and so it is extensively fish-farmed in many countries.

Marsaskala Community & Friends would like to thank Mr. Sammut for his contribution. Should you be interested in more information about this topic, you may check out his book entitled “Mediterranean Sea Fishes – (Central Region)“.