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Swamp and Spiny Eels: Synbranchiformes

Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, Marbled Swamp Eel (synbranchus Marmoratus): Species AccountGEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, SWAMP AND SPINY EELS AND PEOPLE, CONSERVATION STATUS


Swamp and spiny eels are native to Africa, Asia, Australia, South America, and North America only as far north as Mexico. They have been introduced in Florida, Georgia, and Hawaii in the United States.

Swamp and spiny eels live in swamps, caves, and sluggish freshwater and in water with a low salt content. They live in leaf litter and mats of fine tree roots along the banks. Swamp eels can move overland, and some can live out of water for a long time. Some species are burrowers and dig holes in which to live. Four species are found only in caves.

Swamp and spiny eels eat bottom-dwelling fishes and invertebrates (in-VER-teh-brehts), or animals without a backbone, especially larvae (LAR-vee), which are animals in an early stage that must change form before becoming adults.

In some parts of Asia, swamp eels and one species of spiny eel are valued as food and are sometimes kept in ponds or rice fields.

The World Conservation Union (IUCN) lists one species of swamp and spiny eels as Endangered, or facing a very high risk of extinction in the wild.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceFish and Other Cold-Blooded Vertebrates