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First observations of the burrows of Anguilla japonica

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The burrow morphology of the Japanese eel Anguilla japonica was studied using in situ resin‐casting in a mud bottomed tidal drainage channel adjacent to the Fukui River in Tokushima, Japan. Two eels (62·5 and 56·3 cm total length) were initially fished from the burrows to verify that they were being used by A. japonica. Casts were made of 10 burrows that were found to have from one to three openings and main tunnels that were parallel to the axis of water flow in the channel. The maximum depths of the tunnels in the mud were 17·8–30·0 cm. The diameters of main tunnels ranged from 1·2 to 7·9 cm, were almost always wider than the bodies of the Japanese eels examined, and were more variable in the horizontal axis than in the vertical axis. There were no other animals capable of constructing a long and thin burrow in this channel, so these observations indicate that anguillids are able to construct their own burrows in soft mud sediments that may be used for extended periods of time.

Keywords: burrows; casts; freshwater eel; habitat; yellow eel phase

Document Type: Regular Paper


Affiliations: Ocean Research Institute, The University of Tokyo, 1-15-1 Minamidai, Nakano, Tokyo 164-8639, Japan

Publication date: December 1, 2005


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