Photographed by Bette Jackson
If you are have difficulty playing the audio click here
Hi, I’m Dr. Jerry Jackson, out with the wild things. Eels are fishes that most people have heard of and that have crept into our language and folklore. They're all slim and somewhat snake-like in appearance, their fins have no spines to support them, and they lack fins on their belly-side. Most of them have such tiny scales that they appear scale-less. The combination of these characteristics and the coating of mucus that covers their body have given rise to our expression “Slippery as an eel”. Eels are an incredibly diverse group of fishes including more than twenty families and more than 600 species. Most eels are from the oceans of the world, but a few got into fresh water. While we know a great deal about the American and European eels that are commercially important and the spectacular moray eels of coral reefs, there are many eels about which we know almost nothing. Our propensity to call anything long, slender, and slippery an 'eel' confuses things. For example, both the amphiuma, a long slender salamander native to the southeastern United States, and the American eel, a fish that is a real eel, are often called 'Congo eel'.'With the Wild Things' is produced at the Whitaker Center in the College of Arts and Sciences at Florida Gulf Coast University. For 'The Wild Things', I'm Dr. Jerry Jackson.