wolf eel

wolf eel

wolf eel

It is a medium-sized fish around 8 feet long, with its body tapering to a long tail fin. Its body is greenish-brown with muddy sides. It has about 240 to 250 flexible fishbones excluding the dorsal fin or radials, and it has no pelvic or lateral line. It has long gills that are fringed with small gills, located on the sides of its body, right above the pelvic fins.


The wolf eel has edible, sweet and savory white flesh. In some coastal northwest Native American tribes, the wolf eel was referred to as the sacred "doctorfish". Only the tribal healers were allowed to eat this fish, as it was supposed to enhance their healing powers. (Source: en.wikipedia.org)

The powerful jaws of these fish allow them to eat animals with a hard shell, such as crabs, sea urchins, sand dollars, abalone, mussels, and clams. They also eat softer foods such as other fish or squid. Their jaws clamp down and crush their foods. (Source: a-z-animals.com)

Juveniles are bright orange with some purple. They also have white spots along their backside. Almost immediately after they hatch from their eggs, the young fish are ready to hunt. However, a Juvenile’s jaws are not as strong as an adult’s, so juveniles eat fish rather than hard-shelled animals. (Source: a-z-animals.com)

Some people do catch these fish recreationally. Some also cook and eat this fish. The tribal healers of some Native American tribes that lived in the coastal northwestern were the only ones in the tribe allowed to eat them. They believed it could improve their healing abilities. (Source: a-z-animals.com)

Are Wolf Eels good to eat? (Source: a-z-animals.com)

With an unsettling face and muscular body, the wolf eel resembles mythical beasts from seafaring tales of yore. In truth, however, it uses its skills to eat nothing more than hard-shelled invertebrates and has rarely bitten human swimmers. Nonetheless, they do ascend from the depths — with jaws one would be wise to avoid. (Source: allthatsinteresting.com)

After learning about the wolf eel, read about Medieval Europeans eating the terrifying lamprey “vampire fish” as a delicacy. Then, learn about the blue-ringed octopus being one of the deadliest animals in the world. (Source: allthatsinteresting.com)

Wolf Eels are in found shallow water to a depth of 226 meters. Females don’t reach sexual maturity until they are seven years old. An adult wolf eel may produce up to 10,000 eggs which are laid on rocks. Predators for those eggs are rockfish and kelp greenling. Wolf eels are considered “good to eat” but many places forbid taking these creatures (Source: untamedscience.com)

In native Alaskan culture only the shaman or medicine man was allowed the privilege of eating the flesh of this fish. (Source: www.alaskasealife.org)

Known for eating crab and Sea Urchin, their tough jaws can crush a heavy object easily. They are fierce when forced to leave water and give a tough fight, trying to escape. This makes fishing it, an adventure of sorts. (Source: www.totalfisherman.com)


They possess powerful jaws with which they crush their prey: canine teeth in the front and molars in the posterior portion of the mouth. In the anal fin, it has no rays and 233 radials. It only has one dorsal fin, that extends from the head to the end of the body, with 228 to 250 flexible fishbones without soft radius. The caudal fin is small. It has no pelvic fins, nor a lateral line. (Source: en.wikipedia.org)

They have a monogamous relationship and tend to mate for life and live in the same cave. They reproduce from October until the end of winter starting from when they are around seven years old. The male puts his head against the female's abdomen and wraps around her, while she extrudes the eggs (she can lay up to 10,000 at a time) which he then fertilizes. Later, they coil around them and use her body to shape the eggs into a neat sphere roughly the size of a grapefruit, the male then coils around her to add an extra layer of protection. They both equally protect their eggs and only one at a time leaves the cave to feed. (Source: en.wikipedia.org)

Adult wolf eels prefer enclosed spaces. They make their homes in dens—caves or crevices on rocky reefs or pilings (sometimes competing with octopuses for a desirable living space!). They back their long bodies into these spaces, and then stick their heads out to watch for prey. Juvenile wolf eels, on the other hand, spend their early lives in the open water. Once they mature and find a mate, they select a den and typically spend the rest of their lives living in it. (Source: www.seattleaquarium.org)

Wolf eels may mate for life, and both male and female care for eggs as they develop. The female lays her eggs in the den (up to 10,000 of them!), then both parents guard them for the 13–16 weeks it takes for them to mature and hatch, even wrapping their bodies around the egg mass to keep it safe from predators. During this period, only one parent at a time goes out to feed. (Source: www.seattleaquarium.org)

Juvenile wolf eels are quite noticeable in the water, with their vibrant, brick-color and bright orange and purple highlights. As the wolf eels get older, however, those bright colors fade and become shades of gray and brown. Adults have a pattern of dark spots on their heads and bodies that is unique to each individual. At the Seattle Aquarium, biologists can identify different wolf eels by their spots. (Source: www.seattleaquarium.org)

The Wolf Eel’s name may be a bit deceiving. This animal is actually a fish, not an eel. Like other fish, they have pectoral fins and pairs of gill slits. The Wolf Eel is a fish with one dorsal fin that goes nearly the whole length of their body. Their skeleton is made up of between 228 and 250 fishbones that are flexible. They have a small caudal fi and no pelvic fins. (Source: a-z-animals.com)

Older Wolf Eels are gray, green, or brownish-gray in color. The gender of a Wolf Eel will determine its coloring, with males being grayer and females being browner. When they are first born, these fish have a bright orange coloring, but their color will fade to green, gray, or brown as they age. They also have dark spots along the backside of their body. The specific pattern of these spots is also determined by the gender. (Source: a-z-animals.com)

Wolf Eel is a very large fish. An adult may be up to eight feet long and can weigh up to 41 pounds. They have a cartilaginous skeleton, which makes their bodies very flexible. This makes it easier for them to work their way into tighter crevices and spaces. (Source: a-z-animals.com)

a-z-animals.com a-z-animals.com))These fish have extremely powerful jaws. They use these jaws to bite and crush their prey. They also have a thick layer of slime that covers their body. The slime functions like an immune system and works to protect Wolf Eels. Because their scales are smaller and embedded in their skin, they almost look like they are covered in A male places his head on the female’s abdomen and will wrap himself around her body. The female then releases the eggs, which the male will fertilize. Females may lay up to 10,000 eggs at one time. (Source:leather. (Source:

Once the eggs have been laid and fertilized, both the male and the female contribute to protecting them. The female wraps her body around the eggs to form them into a large sphere. The male will also coil around the female to provide additional protection. (Source: a-z-animals.com)

With an unsettling face and muscular body, the wolf eel resembles mythical beasts from seafaring tales of yore. In truth, however, it uses its skills to eat nothing more than hard-shelled invertebrates and has rarely bitten human swimmers. Nonetheless, they do ascend from the depths — with jaws one would be wise to avoid. (Source: allthatsinteresting.com)

Wolf eel are not only monogamous but take care of their young as a cohesive parental unit. The female lays up to 10,000 eggs at a time, beginning at age 7 — with an average lifespan of 25 years for both genders. After doing so, the female wraps her body around the eggs, as the male wraps his around hers. (Source: allthatsinteresting.com Not unlike a snake on the ground, the wolf eel uses its body to propel itself forward. It essentially curves into an S-shape to push forward across the sea. While the young begin their feeding as 1.6-inch larvae that consume zooplankton while drifting on currents, active hunts with their jaws and canines begin within days. (Source:allthatsinteresting.com))

Snuggled within the cracks and crevices of the Pacific coasts rocky reefs lies two lovers in hiding. With elongated slender bodies, large heads and intimidating jaws, wolf eels were named for their superficial resemblance to eels and wolves. However, they are neither wolf nor true eel. Instead, they are part of the Anarhichadidae family, which is a group known as the “wolf fishes.” These animals inhabit the cool waters of the northern Pacific, ranging from the Sea of Japan and Aleutian islands to Southern California, making a home in rocky reefs and stony bottoms. Some say they have a face “only a mother could love,” and while they may startle us with their bulbous fleshy heads and massive daunting jaws, wolf eels are known to be curious and even friendly to divers. (Source: www.oceanfutures.org)

Wolf eels are one of the rare creatures on Earth that finds a partner and mates for life, in most cases. As juveniles, wolf eels are like lone wolves drifting with the ocean currents and hanging out near the top of the water column. One juvenile was even documented traveling 1,000 km from British Columbia to Washington over two years. With their bright orange skin and slender head and body, they most closely resemble eels at this stage of their life. As they age, their skin darkens and they begin looking for a place to settle on the seafloor. It is here they act like old romantics, wooing their partners and settling down in a rocky lair to live out their days. Wolf eels are known to be highly attentive parents, with both parents invested in nurturing and caring for their eggs. (Source: www.oceanfutures.org)

Adult wolf-eels have a grey mottled body with darker eye-spots on their back and dorsal fin. In contrast, the juvenile wolf-eel is remarkably colorful, with spots and stripes of orange and yellow. (Source: www.alaskasealife.org The wolf-eel is not an eel. This is a common misnomer given its long, slender body and misleading common name. (Source:www.alaskasealife.org))

Wolf Eel or Anarrhichthys Ocellatus, is neither a wolf nor an eel. It is in fact, a fish with the face of a wolf and the body of an Eel. Anarrhichthys in Greek means ‘a fish’ and ocellatus stands for ‘eye like spots’. Wolf Eel is one of the five species of the endangered Wolf Fish family. It is the Pacific relative of the popular Atlantic Wolf Fish. (Source: www.totalfisherman.com)

Someone rightly said that the Wolf Eel has the appearance of a fish, eyes of a snake, jaws of a wolf and the grace of a gold fish. A Wolf Eel can grow up to 8 feet in length and weighs up to 88 pounds. The young ones of a burnt orange hue and the adults are brown or green or grey. The special characteristic of the Wolf Eel is its gender specific coloring. The females are brown in color and the males are grey in color. Not just color, the Wolf Eel also shows a gender specific spot pattern on its body. (Source: www.totalfisherman.com)



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