Home → Fish & Wildlife → Fisheries → Species Information → American Eel
Common Name: American Eel
Other Names: Common Eel, Freshwater Eel
Scientific Name: Anguilla rostrata
Adult Size: Adult females may reach a size of up to 6 feet, but normally attain a length between 2 to 3-1/2 feet in length. Males do not attain the large size of females, usually growing to 1-1/2 to 2 feet in length. Recent research has shown that most all eels over 16 inches long are females, and most eels under 16 inches are males.
Identification: A very characteristic snake-like body sets the eel apart from all other Maine fish. Eels are distinguished by true jaws, pectoral but no pelvic fins, and a thick skin with a heavy slime layer. Coloration is olive-green to brown on the back, with yellow-green on the sides and gray-white below. As sexually mature adults leave freshwater to go to the ocean to spawn, eels transform to "silver eels", being black above and silver below.