Garden Eels

The Spotted Garden Eel (Gorgasia sp) is in fact a small fish with an elongated body, reaching lengths of 40 to 60 cms. It’s widespread throughout the subtropical and tropical waters of the Indo-Pacific and other warm regions including the Caribbean, and lives exclusively in sandy bottom environments to a depth of approximately 45 metres. The eel occurs in colonies ranging from dozens to hundreds of individuals, with each fish digging its own burrow from which one third of its body emerges to capture food on the drifting currents. The many eel heads ‘growing’ from the seafloor resemble delicate plants in a garden, hence their name. The eel rarely leaves its burrow, simply shifting burrows closer for contact during the breeding season. The Spotted Garden Eel has three prominent black patches on its body; one surrounding the gills and pectoral fin, the second half way down its body, and the third surrounding its anus. (filmed in Milne Bay, PNG)

Above: There’s a fish that’s called an eel that acts like a plant! If you go snorkelling and see dozens of ‘stalks’ rising from the sand and swaying in the current, look twice. This garden is made of flesh and blood …a colony of Garden Eels!