Eel
Overview
 
Eels are an order
Order (biology)
In scientific classification used in biology, the order is# a taxonomic rank used in the classification of organisms. Other well-known ranks are life, domain, kingdom, phylum, class, family, genus, and species, with order fitting in between class and family...

 of fish
Fish
Fish are a paraphyletic group of organisms that consist of all gill-bearing aquatic vertebrate animals that lack limbs with digits. Included in this definition are the living hagfish, lampreys, and cartilaginous and bony fish, as well as various extinct related groups...

, which consists of four suborders, 20 families
Family (biology)
In biological classification, family is* a taxonomic rank. Other well-known ranks are life, domain, kingdom, phylum, class, order, genus, and species, with family fitting between order and genus. As for the other well-known ranks, there is the option of an immediately lower rank, indicated by the...

, 111 genera
Genus
In biology, a genus is a low-level taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of living and fossil organisms, which is an example of definition by genus and differentia...

 and approximately 800 species
Species
In biology, a species is one of the basic units of biological classification and a taxonomic rank. A species is often defined as a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring. While in many cases this definition is adequate, more precise or differing measures are...

. Most eels are predators. The term "eel" is also used for some other similarly shaped fish, such as electric eel
Electric eel
The electric eel , is an electric fish, and the only species of the genus Electrophorus. It is capable of generating powerful electric shocks, of up to six hundred volts, which it uses for both hunting and self-defense. It is an apex predator in its South American range...

s and spiny eel
Spiny eel
The name spiny eel is used to describe members of two different families of fish: the freshwater Mastacembelidae of Asia and Africa, and the marine Notacanthidae. Both are so-named because of their eel-like shape and sturdy fin spines....

s, but these are not members of the Anguilliformes order.
Eels are elongated fish, ranging in length from 5 centimetres (2 in) in the one-jawed eel (Monognathus
Monognathus
Monognathus, or Onejaws, is the only genus of the family Monognathidae of deep sea eel-like fishes. The name comes from the Greek monos meaning one and gnathos meaning jaw; a reference to the large mouth in comparison with the rest of the fish, and also the absence of an upper jaw...

 ahlstromi
) to 4 metres (13.1 ft) in the slender giant moray
Slender giant moray
The slender giant moray or gangetic moray, Strophidon sathete, is the longest member of the family of moray eels. Specimen as large as 4 m have been recorded...

.
Unanswered Questions
Encyclopedia
Eels are an order
Order (biology)
In scientific classification used in biology, the order is# a taxonomic rank used in the classification of organisms. Other well-known ranks are life, domain, kingdom, phylum, class, family, genus, and species, with order fitting in between class and family...

 of fish
Fish
Fish are a paraphyletic group of organisms that consist of all gill-bearing aquatic vertebrate animals that lack limbs with digits. Included in this definition are the living hagfish, lampreys, and cartilaginous and bony fish, as well as various extinct related groups...

, which consists of four suborders, 20 families
Family (biology)
In biological classification, family is* a taxonomic rank. Other well-known ranks are life, domain, kingdom, phylum, class, order, genus, and species, with family fitting between order and genus. As for the other well-known ranks, there is the option of an immediately lower rank, indicated by the...

, 111 genera
Genus
In biology, a genus is a low-level taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of living and fossil organisms, which is an example of definition by genus and differentia...

 and approximately 800 species
Species
In biology, a species is one of the basic units of biological classification and a taxonomic rank. A species is often defined as a group of organisms capable of interbreeding and producing fertile offspring. While in many cases this definition is adequate, more precise or differing measures are...

. Most eels are predators. The term "eel" is also used for some other similarly shaped fish, such as electric eel
Electric eel
The electric eel , is an electric fish, and the only species of the genus Electrophorus. It is capable of generating powerful electric shocks, of up to six hundred volts, which it uses for both hunting and self-defense. It is an apex predator in its South American range...

s and spiny eel
Spiny eel
The name spiny eel is used to describe members of two different families of fish: the freshwater Mastacembelidae of Asia and Africa, and the marine Notacanthidae. Both are so-named because of their eel-like shape and sturdy fin spines....

s, but these are not members of the Anguilliformes order.

Description

Eels are elongated fish, ranging in length from 5 centimetres (2 in) in the one-jawed eel (Monognathus
Monognathus
Monognathus, or Onejaws, is the only genus of the family Monognathidae of deep sea eel-like fishes. The name comes from the Greek monos meaning one and gnathos meaning jaw; a reference to the large mouth in comparison with the rest of the fish, and also the absence of an upper jaw...

 ahlstromi
) to 4 metres (13.1 ft) in the slender giant moray
Slender giant moray
The slender giant moray or gangetic moray, Strophidon sathete, is the longest member of the family of moray eels. Specimen as large as 4 m have been recorded...

. Adults range in weight from 30 grams to well over 25 kilograms. They possess no pelvic fins, and many species also lack pectoral fins. The dorsal
Dorsal fin
A dorsal fin is a fin located on the backs of various unrelated marine and freshwater vertebrates, including most fishes, marine mammals , and the ichthyosaurs...

 and anal fins are fused with the caudal or tail fin, forming a single ribbon running along much of the length of the animal.
Most eels live in the shallow waters of the ocean
Ocean
An ocean is a major body of saline water, and a principal component of the hydrosphere. Approximately 71% of the Earth's surface is covered by ocean, a continuous body of water that is customarily divided into several principal oceans and smaller seas.More than half of this area is over 3,000...

 and burrow into sand, mud, among rocks, or in cracks found in coral reefs. A majority of eel species are nocturnal, and thus are rarely seen. Sometimes, they are seen living together in holes, or "eel pits". Some species of eels also live in deeper water on the continental shelves and over the slopes deep as 4000 metres (13,123.3596 ft). Only members of the Anguillidae
Anguillidae
Anguillidae is a family of fishes that contains the freshwater eels. There are 19 species/subspecies in this family, all in genus Anguilla. They are catadromous, meaning they spend their lives in freshwater rivers, lakes, or estuaries and return to the ocean to spawn...

 family regularly inhabit fresh water, but they too return to the sea to breed.

Eels begin life as flat and transparent larvae
Larvae
In Roman mythology, lemures were shades or spirits of the restless or malignant dead, and are probably cognate with an extended sense of larvae as disturbing or frightening...

, or leptocephali. Eel larvae drift in the surface waters of the sea feeding on marine snow
Marine snow
In the deep ocean, marine snow is a continuous shower of mostly organic detritus falling from the upper layers of the water column. It is a significant means of exporting energy from the light-rich photic zone to the aphotic zone below. The term was first coined by the explorer William Beebe as he...

, small particles that float in the water. Eel larvae then metamorphose into glass eels and then become elvers before finally seeking out their juvenile and adult habitats.

Classification


This classification follows FishBase
FishBase
FishBase is a comprehensive database of information about fish species . It is the largest and most extensively accessed online database on adult finfish on the web...

 in dividing the eels into fifteen families. Additional families that are included in other classifications (notably ITIS
Itis
Itis may refer to* Integrated Taxonomic Information System, a partnership designed to provide consistent and reliable information on the taxonomy of biological species...

 and Systema Naturae 2000) are noted below the family with which they are synomized in the Fish Base system.

The origin of the fresh water species has been problematic. Genomic studies indicate that they are a monophyletic group which originated among the deep-sea eels.

Suborders and families

Suborder Anguilloidei
Anguilloidei
The Anguilloidei are a sub-order of the order Anguilliformes that contains 6 families:*Anguillidae *Chlopsidae *Heterenchelyidae*Moringuidae *Muraenidae *Myrocongridae...

  • Anguillidae
    Anguillidae
    Anguillidae is a family of fishes that contains the freshwater eels. There are 19 species/subspecies in this family, all in genus Anguilla. They are catadromous, meaning they spend their lives in freshwater rivers, lakes, or estuaries and return to the ocean to spawn...

     (freshwater eels)
  • Chlopsidae
    Chlopsidae
    The Chlopsidae, or false morays, are a family of eels found in coral reefs worldwide. As their name suggests, they somewhat resemble moray eels in appearance...

     (false morays)
  • Heterenchelyidae
    Heterenchelyidae
    The Heterenchelyidae or Mud eels are a small family of eels native to the Atlantic, Mediterranean, and eastern Pacific.Heterenchelyids are bottom-dwelling fish adapted to burrowing into soft mud. They have large mouths and no pectoral fins, and range from to in length. There are currently eight...

     (mud eels)
  • Moringuidae
    Moringuidae
    The Moringuidae is a small family of eels. They are commonly known as spaghetti eels or worm eels, although the latter name is also shared with other families of eel.Moringuid eels are found in shallow tropical waters worldwide...

     (spaghetti eels)
  • Muraenidae (moray eel
    Moray eel
    Moray eels are cosmopolitan eels of the family Muraenidae. The approximately 200 species in 15 genera are almost exclusively marine, but several species are regularly seen in brackish water and a few, for example the freshwater moray can sometimes be found in freshwater...

    s)
  • Myrocongridae
    Myrocongridae
    The Myrocongridae or Thin eels are a small family of eels consisting of a single genus, Myroconger. Very little is known about the group....

     (thin eels)
  • Protoanguillidae


Suborder Congroidei
  • Colocongridae
    Colocongridae
    The Colocongridae, the Worm eels or Short-tail eels are a family of eels, containing a single genus, Coloconger.Colongrids are found in tropical waters of the Atlantic, Indian, and West Pacific oceans. They are bottom-dwelling fish, living in waters from to depth...

     (worm eels)
  • Congridae
    Congridae
    Congridae is the family of conger and garden eels. Congers are valuable and often large food fishes, while garden eels live in colonies, all protruding from the sea floor after the manner of plants in a garden...

     (congers
    Congridae
    Congridae is the family of conger and garden eels. Congers are valuable and often large food fishes, while garden eels live in colonies, all protruding from the sea floor after the manner of plants in a garden...

    )
    • Including Macrocephenchelyidae
  • Derichthyidae (longneck eel
    Longneck eel
    Longneck eels or neck eels are a family, Derichthyidae, of eels. They are pelagic fishes, found in the middle and depths of most oceans...

    s)
    • Including Nessorhamphidae
  • Muraenesocidae
    Muraenesocidae
    The Muraenesocidae, or pike congers, are a small family of marine eels found worldwide in tropical and subtropical seas. Some species are known to enter brackish water....

     (pike congers)
  • Nettastomatidae
    Nettastomatidae
    The duckbill eels or witch eels are a family, Nettastomatidae, of eels. The name is from Greek netta meaning "duck" and stoma meaning "mouth"....

     (duckbill eels)
  • Ophichthidae
    Ophichthidae
    Ophichthidae is a family of eels, comprising species commonly called worm eels and snake eels. The term "Ophichthidae" comes from Greek ophis and ichthys ....

     (snake eels)


Suborder Nemichthyoidei
  • Nemichthyidae (snipe eel
    Snipe eel
    Snipe eels are a family, Nemichthyidae, of eels that consists of nine species in three genera. They are pelagic fishes, found in every ocean, mostly at depths of 300-600 m but sometimes as deep as 4000 m. Depending on the species, adults may reach 1-2 m in length, yet they weigh only 80-400 g...

    s)
  • Serrivomeridae (sawtooth eel
    Sawtooth eel
    Sawtooth eels are a family, Serrivomeridae, of eels found in temperate and tropical seas worldwide.Sawtooth eels get their name from the saw-like arrangement of inward-slanting teeth attached to the vomer bone in the roof of the mouth...

    s)


Suborder Synaphobranchoidei
  • Synaphobranchidae (cutthroat eel
    Cutthroat eel
    Cutthroat eels are a family, Synaphobranchidae, of eels, the only member of the suborder Synaphobranchoidei. They are found worldwide in temperate and tropical seas....

    s)
    • Including Dysommidae, Nettodaridae, and Simenchelyidae


In some classifications the family Cyematidae of bobtail snipe eel
Bobtail snipe eel
The bobtail snipe eels are two species of deep-sea fishes in the family Cyematidae, one only in each of two genera. They are small elongate fishes, growing up to 16 centimeters long....

s is included in the Anguilliformes, but in the FishBase system that family is included in the order Saccopharyngiformes
Saccopharyngiformes
Saccopharyngiformes is an order of unusual ray-finned fish superficially similar to eels, but with many internal differences. Most of the fish in this order are deep-sea types known from only a handful of specimens such as the Umbrella Mouth Gulper Eel. Saccopharyngiformes are also bioluminescent...

.

The electric eel
Electric eel
The electric eel , is an electric fish, and the only species of the genus Electrophorus. It is capable of generating powerful electric shocks, of up to six hundred volts, which it uses for both hunting and self-defense. It is an apex predator in its South American range...

 of South America is not a true eel, but is more closely related to the Carp
Carp
Carp are various species of oily freshwater fish of the family Cyprinidae, a very large group of fish native to Europe and Asia. The cypriniformes are traditionally grouped with the Characiformes, Siluriformes and Gymnotiformes to create the superorder Ostariophysi, since these groups have certain...

 and catfishes.

Use by humans

Freshwater eels (unagi
Unagi
Unagi is the Japanese word for freshwater eels, especially the Japanese eel, Anguilla japonica. Saltwater eels are known as anago in Japanese. Unagi are a common ingredient in Japanese cooking...

) and marine eels (conger eel, anago) are commonly used in Japanese cuisine
Japanese cuisine
Japanese cuisine has developed over the centuries as a result of many political and social changes throughout Japan. The cuisine eventually changed with the advent of the Medieval age which ushered in a shedding of elitism with the age of shogun rule...

; foods such as Unadon
Unadon
An Unadon is a popular donburi dish made with unagi kabayaki, grilled eel coated with a sweet sauce....

 and Unajuu are popular but expensive. Eels are also very popular in Chinese cuisine
Chinese cuisine
Chinese cuisine is any of several styles originating in the regions of China, some of which have become highly popular in other parts of the world – from Asia to the Americas, Australia, Western Europe and Southern Africa...

, and are prepared in many different ways. Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Hong Kong is one of two Special Administrative Regions of the People's Republic of China , the other being Macau. A city-state situated on China's south coast and enclosed by the Pearl River Delta and South China Sea, it is renowned for its expansive skyline and deep natural harbour...

 eel prices have often reached 1000 HKD per kilogram, and once exceeded 5000 HKD per kilogram. Eel is also popular in Korean cuisine and is seen as a source of stamina for men. The European eel
European eel
The European eel, Anguilla anguilla, is a species of eel, a snake-like, catadromous fish. They can reach in exceptional cases a length of 1½ m, but are normally much smaller, about 60–80 cm, and rarely more than 1 m....

 and other freshwater eels are eaten in Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

, the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, and other places. A traditional east London food is jellied eels
Jellied eels
Jellied eels is a traditional English dish that originated in the 18th century, primarily in London's East End. The dish consists of chopped eels boiled in a spiced stock that is allowed to cool and set, forming a jelly...

, although their demand has significantly declined since World War II. The Basque
Basque cuisine
Basque cuisine, the cuisine of the Basque people, includes meats and fish grilled over hot coals, marmitako and lamb stews, cod, Tolosa bean dishes, paprikas from Lekeitio, pintxos , Idiazabal sheep's cheese, txakoli sparkling wine, and Basque cider.A basquaise is a type of dish prepared in the...

 delicacy angulas consists of deep-fried
Deep frying
Deep frying is a cooking method in which food is submerged in hot oil or fat. This is normally performed with a deep fryer or chip pan; industrially, a pressure fryer or vacuum fryer may be used....

 elver (young eels); elver eels usually reach prices of up to 1000 euro
Euro
The euro is the official currency of the eurozone: 17 of the 27 member states of the European Union. It is also the currency used by the Institutions of the European Union. The eurozone consists of Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg,...

 per kilogram. New Zealand longfin eel
New Zealand longfin eel
The New Zealand Longfin eel is one of three freshwater eels found in New Zealand. The other two species of eel are the Shortfin eel which is also found in south-eastern Australia and the recently arrived Australian Longfin eel .The easiest method for identification of the New Zealand Longfin eel...

 is a traditional Māori food in New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

. In Italian cuisine
Italian cuisine
Italian cuisine has developed through centuries of social and political changes, with roots as far back as the 4th century BCE. Italian cuisine in itself takes heavy influences, including Etruscan, ancient Greek, ancient Roman, Byzantine, Jewish and Arab cuisines...

 eels from the Comacchio
Comacchio
Comacchio is a town and comune of Emilia Romagna, Italy, in the province of Ferrara, 48 km from the provincial capital Ferrara.-Geography:...

 area (a swampy zone along the Adriatic coast) are specially prized along with freshwater eels of Bolsena Lake. In northern Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

, The Netherlands
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

, the Czech republic
Czech Republic
The Czech Republic is a landlocked country in Central Europe. The country is bordered by Poland to the northeast, Slovakia to the east, Austria to the south, and Germany to the west and northwest....

, Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

, Denmark
Denmark
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

 and Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

, smoked eel is considered a delicacy
Delicacy
A delicacy is a food item that is considered highly desirable in certain cultures. Often this is because of unusual flavors or characteristics or because it is rare....

.

Fishermen consumed elvers as a cheap dish, but environmental changes have reduced eel populations. They are now considered a delicacy and are priced at up to £700 per kg in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

.

Eels, particularly the Moray eel
Moray eel
Moray eels are cosmopolitan eels of the family Muraenidae. The approximately 200 species in 15 genera are almost exclusively marine, but several species are regularly seen in brackish water and a few, for example the freshwater moray can sometimes be found in freshwater...

, are popular among marine aquarists
Aquarium
An aquarium is a vivarium consisting of at least one transparent side in which water-dwelling plants or animals are kept. Fishkeepers use aquaria to keep fish, invertebrates, amphibians, marine mammals, turtles, and aquatic plants...

.

Eel blood is toxic to humans and other mammals, but both cooking and the digestive process destroy the toxic protein. The toxin derived from eel blood serum was used by Charles Richet in his Nobel winning research which discovered anaphylaxis
Anaphylaxis
Anaphylaxis is defined as "a serious allergic reaction that is rapid in onset and may cause death". It typically results in a number of symptoms including throat swelling, an itchy rash, and low blood pressure...

 (by injecting it into dogs and observing the effect).

Eelskin leather is highly prized. It is very smooth and exceptionally strong. However, it does not come from eels. It comes from the Pacific Hagfish
Pacific hagfish
The Pacific hagfish is a species of hagfish. It lives in the mesopelagic to abyssal Pacific ocean, near the ocean floor. It is a jawless fish, a throwback to the Paleozoic Era when fish evolved...

, a jawless fish which is also known as the slime eel.

Sustainable consumption

In 2010, Greenpeace International has added the European eel
European eel
The European eel, Anguilla anguilla, is a species of eel, a snake-like, catadromous fish. They can reach in exceptional cases a length of 1½ m, but are normally much smaller, about 60–80 cm, and rarely more than 1 m....

, Japanese eel
Japanese eel
The Japanese eel, Anguilla japonica, is a species of eel found in Japan, Korea, Vietnam the East China Sea and the northern Philippines. Like the all the eels of its family, it is catadromous, meaning it lives parts of its life in both freshwater and saltwater. The specific spawning grounds have...

 and American eel
American eel
The American eel, Anguilla rostrata, is a catadromous fish found on the eastern coast of North America. It has a snake-like body with a small sharp pointed head. It is brown on top and a tan-yellow color on the bottom. It has sharp pointed teeth but no pelvic fins...

 to its seafood red list."The Greenpeace International seafood red list is a list of fish that are commonly sold in supermarkets around the world, and which have a very high risk of being sourced from unsustainable fisheries."

Etymology

The English name eel descends from Old English ǽl, Common Germanic }. Also from the common Germanic are German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

 Aal, Middle Dutch
Middle Dutch
Middle Dutch is a collective name for a number of closely related West Germanic dialects which were spoken and written between 1150 and 1500...

 ael, Old High German
Old High German
The term Old High German refers to the earliest stage of the German language and it conventionally covers the period from around 500 to 1050. Coherent written texts do not appear until the second half of the 8th century, and some treat the period before 750 as 'prehistoric' and date the start of...

 âl, Old Norse
Old Norse
Old Norse is a North Germanic language that was spoken by inhabitants of Scandinavia and inhabitants of their overseas settlements during the Viking Age, until about 1300....

 áll. Katz (1998) identifies a number of Indo-European
Indo-European
Indo-European may refer to:* Indo-European languages** Aryan race, a 19th century and early 20th century term for those peoples who are the native speakers of Indo-European languages...

 cognates, among them the second part of the Latin name of the eels, anguilla, which is attested in its simplex form illa in a glossary only, and likewise the Greek word for "eel", egkhelys, the second part being attested in Hesychius
Hesychius
Hesychius , may refer to:*Hesychius of Alexandria, lexicographer*St. Hesychius of Cazorla, saint, martyr, and bishop*Hesychius of Jerusalem, presbyter and exegete*Hesychius of Sinai, hieromonk and Byzantine author*Hesychius of Antioch...

 as elyes. The first compound member, anguis "snake", is cognate to other Indo-European words for "snake", cf. Old Irish escung "eel", Old High German unc "snake", Lithuanian angìs, Greek ophis, okhis, Vedic Sanskrit
Vedic Sanskrit
Vedic Sanskrit is an old Indo-Aryan language. It is an archaic form of Sanskrit, an early descendant of Proto-Indo-Iranian. It is closely related to Avestan, the oldest preserved Iranian language...

 áhi, Avestan
Avestan language
Avestan is an East Iranian language known only from its use as the language of Zoroastrian scripture, i.e. the Avesta, from which it derives its name...

 aži, Armenian auj, iž, Old Church Slavonic
Old Church Slavonic
Old Church Slavonic or Old Church Slavic was the first literary Slavic language, first developed by the 9th century Byzantine Greek missionaries Saints Cyril and Methodius who were credited with standardizing the language and using it for translating the Bible and other Ancient Greek...

 , all from Proto-Indo-European *oguhis, ēguhis. The word also appears in Old English igil "hedgehog" (named as the "snake eater"), and perhaps in the egi- of Old High German egidehsa "wall lizard".
The name of Bellerophon
Bellerophon
Bellerophon or Bellerophontes is a hero of Greek mythology. He was "the greatest hero and slayer of monsters, alongside of Cadmus and Perseus, before the days of Heracles", and his greatest feat was killing the Chimera, a monster that Homer depicted with a lion's head, a goat's body, and a...

 (Βελλεροφόντης, attested in a variant Ἐλλεροφόντης in Eustathius of Thessalonica
Eustathius of Thessalonica
Archbishop Eustathius of Thessalonica was a Greek bishop and scholar. He is most noted for his contemporary account of the sack of Thessalonike by the Normans in 1185, for his orations and for his commentaries on Homer, which incorporate many remarks by much earlier researchers.- Life :After being...

) according to this theory is also related, translating to "the slayer of the serpent" (ahihán), the ελλερο- being an adjective for a lost ελλυ- "snake", directly comparable to Hittite ellu-essar- "snake pit". This myth likely came to Greece via Anatolia, and in the Hittite version, the dragon is called Illuyanka
Illuyanka
In Hittite mythology, Illuyanka was a serpentine dragon slain by Tarhunt , the Hittite incarnation of the Hurrian god of sky and storm. It is known from Hittite cuneiform tablets found at Çorum-Boğazköy, the former Hittite capital Hattusa...

, the illuy- part being cognate to the illa word, and the -anka part being cognate to the angu word for "snake". As designations for "snake" (and similar shaped animals) are often liable to taboo in many Indo-European and non-Indo-European languages, no unambiguous Proto-Indo-European form for the eel word can thus be reconstructed, it could have been *ēl(l)-u-, *ēl(l)-o- or similar.

In human culture

A famous attraction on the French Polynesia
French Polynesia
French Polynesia is an overseas country of the French Republic . It is made up of several groups of Polynesian islands, the most famous island being Tahiti in the Society Islands group, which is also the most populous island and the seat of the capital of the territory...

n island of Huahine
Huahine
Huahine is an island located among the Society Islands, in French Polynesia, an overseas territory of France in the Pacific Ocean. It is part of the Leeward Islands group . The island has a population of about 6,000.-Geography:...

 (part of the Society Islands
Society Islands
The Society Islands are a group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean. They are politically part of French Polynesia. The archipelago is generally believed to have been named by Captain James Cook in honor of the Royal Society, the sponsor of the first British scientific survey of the islands;...

) is the bridge across a stream hosting 3–6 ft (0.9144–1.8 m) long eels, deemed sacred by local culture.
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