— an amazing part of creation
Quick-read this article:
Eel migration is intricate and complex. We believe such instinct
couldn't evolve, and believe instead that God implanted these
instincts in eels when He first created them.
Australian long-finned eels migrate downstream when they reach
sexual maturity. They do this in an attempt to reach, and
eventually breed around, the Coral Sea near New Caledonia. Eels
reach sexual maturity at different times, even at 90 years of
After spawning (producing eggs), the adult dies. A mother eel
may carry millions of eggs inside her.
Riding the current
When the eggs hatch, the see-through larvae are called
leptocephali, and they may spend two years at
sea riding south on the east Australian ocean current.
Leptocephali means “slender-headed”. They are
small and flat, and some are shaped like eucalyptus leaves. The
name leptocephalus is singular (one is called a
leptocephalus and more than one are referred to as
The leptocephali eventually turn into “glass
eels”, meaning they have no colour. They lose
their teeth, and stop feeding while they move into areas where
the rivers meet the sea — where fresh water meets salt
Young eels continue the huge migration
When the glass eels move into fresh water, they grow quickly
and gain colour. Now the young eels become known as
elvers, and they move into the lower reaches of
Elver migrations generally take place at night. To avoid
fast-flowing water, the elvers stay close to the banks.
When the young eels reach obstructions such as waterfalls and
dam walls, many cling to the wet surface and wriggle their bodies
until they are up and over the obstacle. They take several years
to mature in fresh water.
What happens to landlocked eels?
Some eels can't get out to sea in the first place because of
obstructions. These landlocked eels can grow very large —
up to three metres (10 feet) and may weigh more than 20 kilograms
How do eels know what to do?
How do eels in freshwater creeks and rivers in Australia know
there are ideal breeding grounds thousands of kilometres away
across the salty Pacific Ocean in New Caledonia?
And how do the new-born leptocephali, which turn into glass
eels and then into elvers, know to head back to Australia and
find freshwater streams to live in?
And what drives them to press on even when they reach dam
walls and other obstructions?
It's difficult to explain by evolution. That's why we believe
that God the Creator implanted these incredibly complex instincts
in the eels from the time He created them.
Thanks to Critters of Calamvale
Creek for information and the photo used in this article.