Open Access

Biometric studies on premetamorphic eel larvae ofAnguilla anguilla (Anguilliformes: Anguillidae) in comparison with younger developmental stages of the species

  • B. Strehlow1
Helgoländer Meeresuntersuchungen50:BF02367113


387 premetamorphic leptocephali of the familyAnguillidae caught off the west coast of Europe were examined taxonomically and compared with the youngest developmental stages of larvae ofAnguilla anguilla caught in the Sargasso Sea 1979 (Schoth, 1982). The total number of myomeres and the number of myomeres up to the third, opistonephritic blood vessel present features of this species which are significantly different from those of the larvae ofAnguilla rostrata and do not change during the whole larval phase. A combination of these two biometric features enables an infallible species identification of the AtlanticAnguilla larvae at all developmental stages. The number of predorsal and preanal myomeres, the preanal length and features of the head cannot be used for a distinction ofAnguilla larvae. One larva, 68.7 mm long, with 107 myomeres, and 44 myomeres to the opistonephritic blood vessel represents the hitherto southernmost record of anA. rostrata larva in the eastern North Atlantic.