Non-native eels appear in Ontario’s Lake Huron

A mystery is unfolding in Wasaga Beach after hundreds of strange looking fish washed up on shore.

Source: Mysterious eels wash up on Wasaga Beach shore

Not just a few, but hundreds of small eels washed up on the shore confounding locals who never saw this type of fish before. They have been identified as peacock eels, native to the tropics. The most probable explanation is that they were somehow released here. They are easy to keep aquarium fish.

As noted in the piece, they are not an invasive species that threatens any native populations. They will not survive the cold Canadian winter. But it remains a mystery how they got there. Samples have been sent to a lab to make further determinations.

peacock eel

  7 comments for “Non-native eels appear in Ontario’s Lake Huron

  1. Dubious f
    September 15, 2015 at 7:35 PM

    Last month, a research ship found sunfish in the St-Lawrence river which is the entrance to the Great Lakes from the Atlantic ocean. Temperature change and shift in migratory pattern are more and more observed.
    Note: sunfish in french is actually “poisson-lune” (moon fish!) and it weighs in at 2000 pounds not kilograms….

    But the eels were most likely dropped in the lake. It is far from the ocean.

  2. Stephanie
    September 15, 2015 at 7:43 PM

    From a description on a hobbyist website “The Peacock Eel Macrognathus siamensis was described by Günther in 1861. They are found in Asia: Mekong, Chao Phraya, Maeklong, Peninsular and Southeast Thailand. ” They are freshwater fish, not saltwater. They did not swim there on their own. Seems very odd that someone would have dumped a bunch of them though.

  3. Mike C.
    September 16, 2015 at 12:07 PM

    I used to keep those in my aquarium when I was in that hobby. Yes, they are freshwater.

  4. Jeff B.
    September 16, 2015 at 2:48 PM

    Wait just a minute!! “Ontario’s Lake Huron”??? “Cold Canadian water”???? As a proud, lifelong Michigander, I’d just like to remind you half of Lake Huron belongs to Michigan and the good ol’ US of A! 😉

    At least the eel fish had the decency to wash up on the Canook side, I guess. . .

  5. September 16, 2015 at 3:09 PM

    Sadly, I had to look that up. It wasn’t clear in the article. I guess it’s still disputed? 😛

  6. Grumpy
    September 16, 2015 at 9:45 PM

    Another interesting proof of things warming up.

    But Wikipedia says this about its (max) size: “The mature ocean sunfish has an average length of 1.8 m (5.9 ft) and a fin-to-fin length of 2.5 m (8.2 ft). The average weight of mature specimens can range from 247 to 1,000 kg (545 to 2,205 lb) Even larger individuals are not unheard of. The maximum size of these monstrous fish is up to 3.3 m (10.8 ft) in length 4.2 m (14 ft) across the fins[11] and up to 2,300 kg (5,100 lb) in mass.”

    And you’re right, the French name is “poisson-lune” (or “Môle”, cf. the latin binomial _Mola mola_).

  7. Jacob B.
    September 19, 2015 at 7:44 PM

    I came here to say the same thing. Even though Lake Huron cannot compare to Lake Michigan, it’s still at least half ours!

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