Common name: shortfin eel
available through www.itis.gov
Identification: McCosker (1989) presented a key to several Anguilla species including this one; the distinctive feature is a dorsal fin that begins above the anal fin origin. Distinguishing characteristics and photographs appeared in Merrick and Schmida (1984).
Size: 110 cm and 6.8 kg.
Native Range: Marine, estuarine, and fresh water. In Australia, restricted to the Tasmanian, Southeast Coast, and southernmost Northeast Coast drainages; also extends to Lord Howe and Norfolk islands, New Zealand, and to the Chatham Islands (Merrick and Schmida 1984).
Table 1. States with nonindigenous occurrences, the earliest and latest observations in each state, and the tally and names of HUCs with observations†. Names and dates are hyperlinked to their relevant specimen records. The list of references for all nonindigenous occurrences of Anguilla australis are found here.
Table last updated 2/7/2023
† Populations may not be currently present.
Means of Introduction: Unknown. Possible escapes or releases from fish farms or markets (McCosker 1989). Many live eels were imported during the period when these fish were discovered in open waters (Swift et al. 1993).
Status: Reported from California but failed.
Impact of Introduction: The impacts of this species are currently unknown, as no studies have been done to determine how it has affected ecosystems in the invaded range. The absence of data does not equate to lack of effects. It does, however, mean that research is required to evaluate effects before conclusions can be made.
References: (click for full references)
McCosker, J. E. 1989. Freshwater eels (family Anguillidae) in California: current conditions and future scenarios. California Fish and Game 75(1):4-10.
Merrick, J. R., and G. E. Schmida. 1984. Australian freshwater fishes: biology and management. Griffin Press, Netley, South Australia.
Swift, C. C., T. R. Haglund, M. Ruiz, and R. N. Fisher. 1993. The status and distribution of the freshwater fishes of southern California. Bulletin of the Southern California Academy of Science 92(3):101-167.
Williamson, G. R., and O. Tabeta. 1991. Search for Anguilla eels on the West Coast of North America and on the Aleutian and Hawaiian Islands. Japanese Journal of Ichthyology 38(3):315-317.
Revision Date: 3/5/2011
Peer Review Date: 3/5/2011
Nico, L., 2023, Anguilla australis Richardson, 1841: U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx?SpeciesID=309, Revision Date: 3/5/2011, Peer Review Date: 3/5/2011, Access Date: 2/7/2023
This information is preliminary or provisional and is subject to revision. It is being provided to meet the need for timely best science. The information has not received final approval by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and is provided on the condition that neither the USGS nor the U.S. Government shall be held liable for any damages resulting from the authorized or unauthorized use of the information.