Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Discovering the dominance of the non-native European eel in the upper reaches of the Tone River system, Japan.

Abstract

To investigate the presence of non-native anguillid eels in Japanese waters, 141 eels were collected from seven sampling sites throughout the Tone River system. Genetic species identification showed an extraordinary dominance of the non-native European eel Anguilla anguilla in the uppermost site of the study area. Estimation of age from otoliths suggested that the European eels were introduced into the river in the 1990s, corresponding to previous reports from other Japanese water systems. Comparison of the von Bertalanffy growth curve parameters indicated that the European eels caught in the Tone River system appeared to have a similar or even higher growth rate than the same species in the original habitats in Europe. The long-term inhabitation and the normal development of European eels in Japanese waters suggest that regulations prohibiting the release of non-native eels and safeguards against accidental escape from culture ponds must be strictly maintained in order to ensure the conservation of the native Japanese eel.