This is not something you see every day, especially in Texas! A researcher near Rockport, Texas, got to show off a 4-foot-long eel that washed up on the beach. Jace Tunnell, a reserve director at the University of Texas Marine Science Institute, was near Mustang Island, Texas. He shared a video on YouTube of him enthusiastically presenting the female American eel.
“This is basically as big as they get,” Tunnell said. “This is likely a female. They’re larger than the males.”
Want to know something else? Female eels can have up to four million eggs.
The American eel is listed to be endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species. This is because of the negative impact of dam building on the eel’s life cycle over the past century, Tunnell explained.
“Whenever all the dams and stuff started coming in, the life cycle of these fish, of going up the rivers, coming down the rivers, and going way out into the ocean to be able to have their eggs with those dams on the rivers they weren’t able to do the things they would normally do.”
The Mission-Aransas National Estuarine Research Reserve, which Tunnell manages, conducts research and education into preserving healthy Texas coastlines. The longest eel that has been caught in Texas was recorded at three and a half feet long.