Anguilla bicolor


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Anguilla bicolor
Species Authority: McClelland, 1844
Common Name/s:
English shortfin eel
Anguilla amblodon Günther, 1867
Anguilla bleekeri Kaup, 1856
Anguilla cantori Kaup, 1856
Anguilla dussumieri Kaup, 1856
Anguilla foochowensis Chu and Yin, 1984
Anguilla malabarica Kaup, 1856
Anguilla moa Bleeker, 1849
Anguilla mowa Bleeker, 1853
Anguilla sidat Bleeker, 1853
Anguilla spengeli Weber, 1912
Muraena halmaherensis Bleeker, 1856
Muraena virescens Peters, 1852
Taxonomic Notes: This species of shortfin eel has two subspecies -- Anguilla bicolor bicolor is found in coast of Africa, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar, northwestern Australia and greater Sundaland, while Anguilla bicolor pacifica includes the coast of China, Viet Nam, Philippines and islands of Borneo, Sulawesi Island and New guinea.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2010
Date Assessed: 2010-05-26
Assessor/s: Chaudhry, S.
Reviewer/s: Rema Devi, K.R., Daniel, B.A., Arunachalam, M., Dahanukar, N. & Molur, S.
Contributor/s: Molur, S.
Since Anguilla bicolor is widespread and the quality of threat affecting its population remains unknown, it is assessed as Least Concern.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:

The species is known to inhabit tropical and subtropical regions of the world between 22⁰N- 27⁰S.  It has so far not been reported from eastern Himalaya, though its congener (Anguilla bengalensis) has been reported from Nepal.

Australia (Western Australia); Bangladesh; India; Indonesia (Lesser Sunda Is.); Myanmar; Nepal; Sri Lanka
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: In studies conducted at southern Sri Lanka the species was stated to be fairly uniform as reflected in the catch per unit effort.
Population Trend: Unknown

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:

Most of life is subsequently spent in lakes, streams and rivers but as the maturity approaches the adults migrate seaward to spawn.  The eels spawn in deep tropical/subtropical oceans.  The larvae are transported and dispersed by ocean currents which metamorphose into glass eels.  These glass eels/elvers in estuaries migrate to freshwater and these juveniles/yellow fin eels (non migratory) grows to silver form (migratory).  The silver form migrates to sea for spawning before they die.

Systems: Freshwater; Marine

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The adult individuals migrating back to sea for spawning are the most difficult phase of its life as they are vulnerable to fishing.  The migratory routes cease to exist due to multiple impoundments in small streams and rivers.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions:

Several species are cultured artificially in Asia and Europe.  This species is also raised commercially in Philippines for economic purposes.  

Citation: Chaudhry, S. 2010. Anguilla bicolor. In: IUCN 2013. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. <>. Downloaded on 19 April 2014.
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