Story: Freshwater fish

Elvers climbing

Elvers climbing

Juvenile eels, known as elvers, have a remarkable climbing ability – they can even ascend vertical walls if the surface is wet and rough. During the day they seek cover in cracks under waterfalls. They lose their climbing ability once they reach about 12 centimetres (weighing some 5 grams). After this they are probably too heavy for surface tension to hold them to rock faces. By climbing, and slithering overland through wet grass, eels can colonise remote and inaccessible waterways.

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Cawthron Institute
Photograph by Rowan Strickland

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How to cite this page:

Bob McDowall, 'Freshwater fish - Evolution and characteristics', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/photograph/11105/elvers-climbing (accessed 15 December 2019)

Story by Bob McDowall, published 24 Sep 2007