Ryan Photographic - Congridae - Conger and Garden eels

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Family Congridae

There are 150 species of conger and garden eels in 32 genera. Conger eels are primarily nocturnal and feed on fish and crustaceans. They are scaleless. Congers are a sought after food fish in parts of their range. The European conger is the largest of the family - supposedly reaching 3m in length and weights of up to 160 kg (personally I doubt these figures ...).

Garden eels live, often in large colonies, in sandy areas. When they are feeding they protrude from their sinusoidal wave burrow. As a diver (or large predator) approaches they slowly sink back into their burrow until only their heads are visible. Any movement at this stage sends them out of sight. I have spent many a frustrating time lying on the bottom waiting for garden eels to re-emerge. My most successful photography was when I used a 180 mm macro and was able to stay outside their reaction zone. Colleagues have told me they have been able to get closer using rebreathers.

Garden eels feed on zooplankton. Neither congers nor garden eels undertake reproductive migrations.


Gorgasia maculata Spaghetti garden eel

Gorgasia maculata Spaghetti garden eel Raja Ampat, West Papua

FISH 2999 Gorgasia maculata Spaghetti garden eel Raja Ampat, West Papua.

Heteroconger hassi Spotted garden eel

neteroconger hassi Spotted garden eel, Kri Eco, Raja Ampat

FISH 7194 Heteroconger hassi Spotted garden eel, Kri Eco, Raja Ampat

Heteroconger longissimus Brown garden eel

Heteroconger longissimus brown garden eel

FISH 0651 Heteroconger longissimus brown garden eel, Roatan, Honduras







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