Zoological Studies

Vol. 57, 2018

(update: 2018.04.25; 05.24) 

Seaward Migration Routes of Indigenous Eels, Anguilla japonica, A. marmorata, and A. bicolor pacifica, via Satellite Tags

Shih-Chong Chen1, Ching-Rong Chang1, and Yu-San Han1,*

1Institute of Fisheries Science, College of Life Science, National Taiwan University, Taiwan. E-mail: f05b45011@ntu.edu.tw (Chen); jackyto888@gmail.com (Chang)

(Received 16 November 2017; Accepted 11 April 2018; Communicated by Hin-Kiu Mok)

Shih-Chong Chen, Ching-Rong Chang, and Yu-San Han (2018) The spawning migration of the Japanese eel, Anguilla japonica, along the western Mariana Ridge is considered one of the longest animal migrations. To establish an appropriate conservation policy for this species, a complete life cycle study is required, but the migratory routes of anguillid eels remain poorly documented. Anguilla japonica, A. marmorata, and A. bicolor pacifica are three common eel species in Taiwan. The present study used pop-up archival transmitting tags to track their movements during the oceanic phase of their migration. Twenty silver eels (farmed and wild) were tagged and released near the Gueishan and Liuchiu Islands. All three species in the Gueishan Island group were entrained in the Kuroshio Current, andpop-up tag data showed that, after 23 days, the farthest distance travelled was approximately 1,500 km, to the southern waters of Yakushima, Japan. In comparison, eels released near Liuchiu Island moved in the opposite direction, which suggests that they were influenced by the recirculation in the southwestern waters of Taiwan. The migration speed of eels was estimated to be between 12.9 km/d and 65.2 km/d. Several eels exhibited diel vertical migration behavior, moving into deeper water during the daytime and ascending into shallower waters at night. The farmed eels exhibited similar patterns of diel vertical migration to wild eels. The results of this study suggest that eels from Taiwan travel through the Kuroshio Current during their early migration, irrespective of species and source. Of importance, farmed eels appeared to behave similar to wild ones following artificial release. This information provides important rationale for releasing cultivated eels for resource enrichment programs. provided.

Key words: Eel, Spawning migration, Pop-up archival transmitting tag, Diel vertical migration, Kuroshio Current.

*Correspondence: Shih-Chong Chen and Ching-Rong Chang contributed equally to this work. E-mail: yshan@ntu.edu.tw