Kōrero: Eels

Life cycle

Life cycle

As New Zealand eels have never been seen spawning, this part of their lifecycle is based on what scientists think happens. In autumn, adult eels leave fresh water and enter tropical seas somewhere in the South Pacific, where in deep water females release eggs. Males fertilise them. Adults die after spawning. Eggs hatch into larvae that float to the surface and drift back towards New Zealand. They may take about 17 months to arrive. They then change into glass eels – transparent baby eels. These enter estuaries and turn darker – from which point they are known as elvers. Elvers move upstream and find a suitable place to live, where they grow into adults. Over a decade (or more) later, adult eels head out to sea to spawn and the cycle continues.

Te whakamahi i tēnei tūemi

Te Ara - The Encyclopedia of New Zealand
Artwork by Bruce Mahalski

This item has been provided for private study purposes (such as school projects, family and local history research) and any published reproduction (print or electronic) may infringe copyright law. It is the responsibility of the user of any material to obtain clearance from the copyright holder.

Ngā whakaahua me ngā rauemi katoa o tēnei kōrero

Te tuhi tohutoro mō tēnei whārangi:

Paddy Ryan, 'Eels - Life cycle and breeding grounds', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/mi/diagram/10116/life-cycle (accessed 15 November 2019)

He kōrero nā Paddy Ryan, i tāngia i te 24 Sep 2007