The New Zealand Longfin Eel utilises special tubes that channel water into its nose, which enables this species to have a greater sense of smell than Great White Sharks.

The Longfin Eel (Anguilla dieffenbachia) has poisonous blood that causes inflammation if in contact with eyes or lips of humans or other mammals. Three Teaspoons of blood injected into a person’s bloodstream causes an anaphylactic shock which can possibly result in death.

This species is native only to New Zealand and has great value to the Māori Tribes in the country who refer to this fish as “Tuna”. The Eels represent a substantial food source for the natives since both cooking and the digestive process destroy the toxic protein of the fish’s blood.

Young Eels or ‘Elvers’ migrate from the sea into freshwater streams. They are legendary climbers and penetrate well inland in most river systems, even those with natural barriers such as steep falls.
Adult Eels can absorb up to 50% of their oxygen needs through the skin and move overland from one waterbody to another by crossing flat grassy land, especially when it is wet.

The Longfin Eel occupies a wide range of habitats and occurs in rivers, streams, lakes ponds and wetlands where they are secretive, mainly nocturnal and prefer habitats with plenty of cover.
They are carnivores and feed mostly on small fish and crustaceans.

While Longfin Eels generally have poor eyesight, they have many other senses that help them survive. They have an excellent sense of smell which is enhanced by tubular nostrils that stick out in front of their noses to help in hunting. They also have sensors on their sides and taste buds on their heads.

Adult eels are known to grow up to 2 metres long, weighing almost 50kg and growing up to 100 years old. The females are the longest and heaviest carrying hundreds of eggs, which they will carry all the way down the stream, back to sea to spawn in the Pacific Ocean where they will die afterwards.

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