American eel tracked more than 680 miles - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

American eel tracked more than 680 miles

(Photo courtesy: Missouri Department of Conservation) (Photo courtesy: Missouri Department of Conservation)
Eel travel map. (Courtesy: Missouri Department of Conservation) Eel travel map. (Courtesy: Missouri Department of Conservation)
CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) -

Scientists with the Missouri Department of Conservation are on a mission to learn more about the American eel. 

In 2014, a team at the Big Rivers and Wetlands Field Station in Jackson, Mo. began a tracking study. 

The project is aimed to learn more about the habitat and movement of the underwater creatures.

One of 20 eels tagged with a transmitter was detected five months later by researchers near the Gulf of Mexico, a 688 river mile journey from where it was released. 

"American eels have a unique life cycle which requires long migrations to complete," Andy Bueltmann, a Southeast Missouri State University graduate student working on the project, said. "This detection most likely signifies that [it] was migrating back to the Sargasso Sea for spawning purposes."

According to the department, only female eels travel inland. Male eels spend their entire adult lives on the coast. 

"After they grow to a certain size, they mature and begin to migrate back to the Sargasso Sea, like it seems this eel was doing," Bueltmann said. 

The long journey to procreate also comes with a set of obstacles. American eel populations in Missouri have been reduced by large dams. 

Most American eels in Missouri are located in the Mississippi River, but researchers know little about their habitat, what they eat or where they're going. 

"Knowing where the eels go helps us to identify their habitat needs and the overall health of our big river habitat," Bueltmann said.

You can click here for more information.

Download the KFVS News app: iPhone | Android

Copyright 2016 KFVS. All rights reserved.

  • Heartland NewsMore>>

  • Greitens signs order expanding Homeland Security Advisory Council

    Greitens signs order expanding Homeland Security Advisory Council

    Wednesday, April 25 2018 7:00 PM EDT2018-04-25 23:00:30 GMT
    Missouri Governor Eric Greitens signed an order on Wednesday making changes to the Homeland Security Advisory Council. (Source: governor.mo.gov)Missouri Governor Eric Greitens signed an order on Wednesday making changes to the Homeland Security Advisory Council. (Source: governor.mo.gov)
    Missouri Governor Eric Greitens signed an order on Wednesday making changes to the Homeland Security Advisory Council. (Source: governor.mo.gov)Missouri Governor Eric Greitens signed an order on Wednesday making changes to the Homeland Security Advisory Council. (Source: governor.mo.gov)

    Missouri Governor Eric Greitens signed an order on Wednesday making changes to the Homeland Security Advisory Council. 

    Missouri Governor Eric Greitens signed an order on Wednesday making changes to the Homeland Security Advisory Council. 

  • First Alert: Rain moving in on Wednesday

    First Alert: Rain moving in on Wednesday

    Wednesday, April 25 2018 6:46 PM EDT2018-04-25 22:46:47 GMT
    Grant Dade says clouds are beginning to increase ahead of our next rain maker (Source: KFVS)Grant Dade says clouds are beginning to increase ahead of our next rain maker (Source: KFVS)

    Rain chances arrive this afternoon and stick with parts of the Heartland this evening and overnight. 

    Rain chances arrive this afternoon and stick with parts of the Heartland this evening and overnight. 

  • $8.7M granted to Cape Girardeau Veterans Home for renovation, construction projects

    $8.7M granted to Cape Girardeau Veterans Home for renovation, construction projects

    Wednesday, April 25 2018 6:31 PM EDT2018-04-25 22:31:00 GMT
    The Cape Girardeau Veterans Home is set to receive more than $8 million for renovations and construction. (Source: KFVS)The Cape Girardeau Veterans Home is set to receive more than $8 million for renovations and construction. (Source: KFVS)

    The Cape Girardeau Veterans Home will receive $8.7 million through a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs grant program for renovation and construction projects.

    The Cape Girardeau Veterans Home will receive $8.7 million through a U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs grant program for renovation and construction projects.

Powered by Frankly