Skip to main content
Research article - Peer-reviewed, 1996

Maturation patterns in female European eel: Age and size at the silver eel stage

Svedäng, Henrik; Neuman, E.; Wickström, H.


The maturation pattern in the female European eel Anguilla anguilla was studied by investigating age and size patterns of silver eels in different aquatic environments in Sweden, covering limnic, brackish and marine waters. The results neither supported the hypothesis that there is a critical size or age when eels enter the silvery stage, nor that size and age at maturity are positively related. Age at maturity, however, was observed to be negatively related to growth rate in all localities, i.e. the female reproductive tactic apparently is to become sexually mature at the earliest possible opportunity. Furthermore, it was recognized that a significant amount of variation was due to habitat differences, since the female eel maturation pattern deviated systematically between sampling sites, as it did also when the effect of growth rate was eliminated. Thus, the ability of the female eel to adjust maturation to an optimal size and age can be questioned, because the panmictic nature of the eel means local adaptations are unlikely. Growth rate dependent differences suggest that variations in maturation patterns between eel environments are linked more to the opportunity for nutrient accumulation than to other aspects of growth. (C) 1996 The Fisheries Society of the British Isles


Anguilla anguilla; life history; age at maturity; growth rate; adaptive

Published in

Journal of Fish Biology
1996, volume: 48, number: 3, pages: 342-351

Authors' information

Svedäng, Henrik
Swedish Board of Fisheries
Neuman, E.
Wickström, H.

UKÄ Subject classification

Developmental Biology

Publication Identifiers


URI (permanent link to this page)