Wolf Eel

Wolf Eel (Anarrhichthys ocellatus) as seen in our Rocky Shores exhibit.

Clearly, this animal is not a wolf... but is it even an eel? Although this fish may appear like an eel, the similarities are superficial – true eels do not have fins. Rather the Wolf Eel is related to wolffishes, a group of bottom-dwelling carnivores that hide on the rocky ocean bottom. Its massive head and powerful jaws (you can see a skull of the Wolf Eel in our Rocky Shores gallery to gain a true appreciation for its size and bulk) are ideally suited for crushing through the hard shells of clams, echinoderms and crustaceans.

Despite its fearsome appearance, Wolf Eels are generally shy and gentle creatures. In recent years, the Aquarium has even had considerable success in breeding this species in captivity. The Wolf Eel is also edible and was consumed regularly by local Native American tribes.


Range & Habitat

Rocky outcrops, wrecks and crevices up to 100 fathoms deep. The Wolf Eels range extends from Alaska to southern California.


Conservation Status

Common.

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