Size16 inches (40 cm)
- Has a whitish, snake-like body covered with yellow to orange colored stripes.
- Can grow to about 16 inches (40 cm) in length.
- Body diameter to about 0.4 inches (1 cm).
- Has large eyes and a small pectoral fin.
Garden eels use their tails to dig their burrows and rarely leave
- Diet consists of zooplankton it picks from the current as it flows past. For this reason, all the eels in a colony generally face the same direction: into the current.
- Occurs in tropical Indo-Pacific waters near Maldives, Philippines and Indonesia; possibly as far south as Fiji.
- Found along sandy slopes at depths of 59 to 264 feet (18-75 m), usually in depths of more than 98 feet (30 m).
- Lives in a sandy burrow that it digs tail-first. The garden eel then coats the sand walls with mucus from its body to cement the sand grains together to prevent collapse.
- Male and female move burrows to increase proximity during mating season.
- Will stretch from adjacent burrows and intertwine bodies to spawn.
- The male will display protective behaviors toward his female mate, keeping other competitors away. It may bite rivals.
- Pelagic spawner: after mating, female will release fertilized eggs into the current.
- After eggs hatch in current, larvae continue to float until reaching a size threshold. At that point, the juvenile garden eel will dig its own burrow.
- “Not Evaluated” on the IUCN Red List.
- Also known as the orangebarred garden eel.
- Lives in colonies which can consist of thousands of individuals each occupying its own burrow.
- Most commonly seen with just its head and upper body extended out of the burrow, swaying in the current like a blade of seagrass in order to feed on passing plankton.
- Easily disturbed and quickly retracts itself, tail first, into its burrow.
- Rarely leaves its sand burrow, even to spawn.
- Discovered when SCUBA diving became popular.
- Reef Fishes, Michael, Scott W., pg. 287-288, 292