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Last updated on April 20, 2014 at 17:20 EDT

Common conger

The Common conger, Conger verreauxi, is a conger of the family Congridae, found in the eastern Indian Ocean and south west Pacific Ocean, including southern Australia and New Zealand, at depths down to 328.08 ft (100 m) in broken rocky reef areas. Length is up to 6.56 ft (2 m) and weight may be up to 110.23 lb (50 kg).

The common conger is similar to the common freshwater eels, but with larger eyes and a dorsal fin which originates further forward, above the hind tip of the pectoral fin. Like all other conger eels the skin is smooth and scaleless. They hide in caves and crevices during the day and hunt their prey of crabs, shrimps and small fish by night.

Young common conger eels are gray, paler on the belly, but adults become progressively darker and the largest may be almost blue-black. When they mature the alimentary canal and other organs degenerate, the teeth fall out, the skeleton decalcifies, and the gonads develop tremendously until they account for almost a third of the total body weight. The eels then migrate off-shore to deepwater spawning grounds where each eel releases 3 to 6 million eggs. The spent adults then die.

Common conger