Ten yellow-phase American eels, Anguilla rostrata, were captured from Hammond Pond, a small freshwater pond located in central Maine, U.S.A. The eels were implanted with radio transmitters and released into nearby Hermon Pond. At the same time, 10 eels were captured from Hermon Pond, implanted with radio transmitters and returned to Hermon Pond to serve as a control group. The two ponds are connected by a 1.6km section of Souadabscook Stream. We tracked the 20 eels over the 90-day duration of the experiment. Four of the ten displaced eels returned to their home pond. None of the control fish were located outside of their home pond during the study. Three of the four eels that successfully returned to their home pond did so under the darkness of the new moon and the fourth made the journey during the first quarter moon phase. Location data showed that translocated and native eels tended to occupy different areas of Hermon Pond. This study provides evidence of homing behavior in American eels living in small freshwater ponds and indications that homing activity may be linked to lunar cycle.
Additional publication details
Homing and movement of yellow-phase American eels in freshwater ponds