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Tuna kuwharuwharu/Longfin Eel Anguilla dieffenbachii

Native. At risk-declining.

Mainly a nocturnal species, they live in rivers and lakes but can also be found in most types of water, usually inland from the coast but can equally survive in farm drains, dams and large ponds even if the water is quite murky water. Most habitats would have some bank shading. A second species, Tuna Hinahina/Shortfin Eel A. australis is also found in our rivers but is not as abundant.

Breeding takes place only once in their lifetime when they migrate some 5000 km across the Pacific to lay their eggs off the coast of Tonga, after which they die.  Spawn drifts back to Aotearoa New Zealand on sea currents, hatching en-route. On entering freshwater to start their migration up-stream they change into "glass eel" and it could be up to 80 years before these repeat the journey.

The Department of Conservation produces an excellent information sheet which includes links to an activity book and many other aspects of their lives.

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