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Leptocephalus larva of the Japanese eel

Leptocephalus larva of the Japanese eel

Z605/0226

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Credit

SINCLAIR STAMMERS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SINCLAIR STAMMERS / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Eel larva. Larva of the Japanese eel, Anguilla japonica, in its leptocephalus stage. This stage is commonly known as a glass eel because of its transparency. It is the stage immediately before the larva undergoes metamorphosis into the adult form. The adults live in freshwater rivers along the coast of China, Korea and Japan, having been swept there as larvae by ocean currents from the spawning ground to the west of the Mariana Islands. The larval stages of A. japonica are so different that they were once thought to be separate species. After living in rivers, the adult eels migrate back to the spawning grounds to breed and die.

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