SINCLAIR STAMMERS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SINCLAIR STAMMERS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Eel embryo. Light micrograph of a newly-hatched embryo of the Japanese eel, Anguilla japonica. The 3 millimetre-long embryo emerges from its egg about 36 hours after fertilisation. It lives at depths of about 75 metres and feeds on plankton, growing at about 0.56 millimetres a day. As the larvae grow they undergo a metamorphosis, eventually achieving the adult form. From A. japonica's spawning grounds near the Mariana Islands in the Pacific, the larvae are swept towards the coasts of China, Korea and Japan. They then migrate up freshwater rivers where they spend their adult live before returning to the spawning grounds to breed and die.
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