The Nonindigenous Occurrences section of the NAS species profiles has a new structure. The section is now dynamically updated from the NAS database to ensure that it contains the most current and accurate information. Occurrences are summarized in Table 1, alphabetically by state, with years of earliest and most recent observations, and the tally and names of drainages where the species was observed. The table contains hyperlinks to collections tables of specimens based on the states, years, and drainages selected. References to specimens that were not obtained through sighting reports and personal communications are found through the hyperlink in the Table 1 caption or through the individual specimens linked in the collections tables.

Anguilla australis
Anguilla australis
(shortfin eel)
Marine Fishes

Copyright Info
Anguilla australis Richardson, 1841

Common name: shortfin eel

Taxonomy: available through www.itis.govITIS logo

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).

Interactive maps: Point Distribution Maps

Nonindigenous Occurrences:

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.

StateFirst ObservedLast ObservedTotal HUCs with observations†HUCs with observations†
CA198319852Los Angeles; San Gabriel

Table last updated 4/24/2024

† 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.

Remarks: Anguilla australis greater than 50 cm in length are highly piscivorous and may significantly prey on native fishes (Swift et al. 1993). Also see remarks for A. anguilla.
Voucher specimens: LACM 44140, 43527-1, LACM unnumbered.

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.

Other Resources:
FishBase Summary

Author: Nico, L.

Revision Date: 3/5/2011

Peer Review Date: 3/5/2011

Citation Information:
Nico, L., 2024, 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: 4/24/2024

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.


The data represented on this site vary in accuracy, scale, completeness, extent of coverage and origin. It is the user's responsibility to use these data consistent with their intended purpose and within stated limitations. We highly recommend reviewing metadata files prior to interpreting these data.

Citation information: U.S. Geological Survey. [2024]. Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Gainesville, Florida. Accessed [4/24/2024].

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