Iowa Fish Atlas

American eel-Anguilla rostrata

Native: Yes

State Rank: S3?

ITIS Code: 161127

National Rank:  N5

Global Rank: G5

Modeled By: Anna Loan-Wilsey

State Range:

In Iowa, the American eel inhabits the Mississippi River and its larger tributaries. Its presence has also recently been documented in the Missouri River. (Harlan et al. 1987).  Although high dams on the Des Moines, Iowa and Chariton Rivers have undoubtedly restricted migration in these drainages,  resident populations do not appear to be on the decline (Harlan et al. 1987).

Habitat Affinities:

The American eel is a catadromous species migrating upstream where it settles in pools or backwaters until it reaches sexual maturity (4-7 years). It is able to withstand significant turbidity (Trautman 1981) and although it is known to venture on land to find prey and circumvent small dams or waterfalls (Eddy and Underhill 1974), inland migration north of Louisiana has been limited by the construction of large dams (Clay 1975; Cross and Collins 1995; Etnier and Starnes 1993; Robison and Buchanan 1988). Harlan, et al. (1987) note that distribution and abundance are hard to predict because capture with conventional sampling methods does not work well for this species. As a nocturnal feeder, the American eel spends daytime hours in deep pools near logs, boulders, or other cover (Pflieger 1997). The American eel is commonly found in deep, quiet navigational pools of the Mississippi River. In the Ozarks region of Missouri, it seeks medium to large-sized streams with continuous flow and moderately clear water (Pflieger 1971) but in Iowa prefers deep, mud-bottom waters (Harlan et al. 1987).

Predictive Model(s):

Statewide Model: by 8-digit HU [Decision Tree Analysis n=7]

The distribution is based upon existing collection records and professional review.

("FLOW" = 1 AND "SDISCR_2C" = 0 AND "TEMP_CODE" = 2 AND

"STRAHLER" > 4)

Mississippi River Model:

The distribution is based upon existing collection records and professional review.

("pool" >= 'S08' AND "pool" <= 'S20')

Missouri River Model

The distribution is based upon existing collection records and professional review

 ("pool" >= 'O17' AND "pool" <= 'O19')

Overall Prediction:

("FLOW" = 1 AND "SDISCR_2C" = 0 AND "TEMP_CODE" = 2 AND "STRAHLER" > 4) OR ("pool" >= 'S08' AND "pool" <= 'S20') OR ("pool" >= 'O17' AND "pool" <= 'O19')

Literature Cited:

Clay, W.M.  1975.  The fishes of Kentucky.  Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources, Frankfort, Kentucky.  416 pp.

Cross, F.B., and J.T. Collins.  1995.  Fishes in Kansas.  University of Kansas Natural History Museum, Public Education Series No. 14, Lawrence, Kansas.   315 pp.

Eddy, S., and J.C. Underhill.  1974.  Northern fishes; with special reference to the upper Mississippi Valley.  University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, Minnesota.  414 pp.

Etnier, D.A., and W.E. Starnes.  1993.  The fishes of Tennessee.  University of Tennessee Press, Knoxville, Tennessee.  681 pp.

Harlan, J.R., E.B. Speaker, and J. Mayhew.  1987.  Iowa fish and fishing. Iowa Conservation Commission, Des Moines, Iowa. 323pp.

Pflieger, W.L.  1971.  A distributional study of Missouri fishes.  University of Kansas Publications, Museum of Natural History  20(3):225-570.

Pflieger, W.L.  1997.  The fishes of Missouri.  Missouri Department of Conservation, Jefferson City, Missouri.  372 pp.

Robison, H.W., and T.M. Buchanan. 1988.  Fishes of Arkansas.  University of Arkansas Press, Fayetteville, Arkansas.  536 pp.

Trautman, M.B.  1981.  The fishes of Ohio.  Revised Edition.  Ohio State University Press in collaboration with the Ohio Sea Grant Program Center for Lake Erie Area Research,  Columbus, Ohio.  782 pp.

Data Sources:

Barnickol, P.G., and W.C. Starrett.  1951.  Commercial and sport fishes of the

Mississippi River between Caruthersville, Missouri, and Dubuque, Iowa.  Illinois Natural History Survey Bulletin 25(Article 5):267-347.

Call, R.E.  1890.  The fishes of the Des Moines basin. Iowa Academy of Sciences 1 pt.2

(1890, 1891):43-56.

Coker, R.E.  1929.  Keokuk dam and the fisheries of the upper Mississippi River. 

Bulletin of the Bureau of Fisheries 45:87-140.

Fairport Fish Management and Hatchery.  2003.  Field notes and unpublished reports.

Southeast Management District, Fisheries Bureau, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Fairport, Iowa.

Harrison, H.M.  1951.  General survey of the Des Moines River below Des Moines.

Quarterly Biology Reports 3(3):32-45.

Harrison, H.M.  1962.  The status of the fish population Humboldt study area-spring

1962.    Quarterly Biology Reports 14(2):1-6.

Hesse, L.W., Q.L. Bliss, and G.J. Zuerlein.  1982.  Some aspects of the ecology of adult

fishes in the channelized Missouri River with special reference to the effects of two nuclear power generating stations.  Pages 224-277 in L.W. Hesse, G.L. Hergenrader, H.S. Lewis, S.D. Reetz, and A.B. Schlesinger, editors. The Middle Missouri River: a collection of papers on the biology with special reference to power station effects.  The Missouri River Study Group, Norfolk, Nebraska.

Lake Darling Fish Management.  2002.  Field notes and unpublished reports.  Southeast

Management District, Fisheries Bureau, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Brighton, Iowa.  

Lake Darling Fish Management.  2002.  Field notes of data collected for the EPA. 

Southeast Management District, Fisheries Bureau, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Brighton, Iowa.     

LGL Ecological Research Associates.  1981.  Study of fish in the main channel of the

Mississippi River between river miles 500 and 513.5.  Final Report.  Great II Fish and Wildlife Management Work Group and Department of the Army, Corps of Engineers, Rock Island, Illinois.

Long Term Resource Monitoring Program.  2002.   Pool 13 database, 1990-2001.  Upper

Midwest Environmental Science Center, Bellevue, Iowa.

Meek, S.E.  1892.  Report upon the fishes of Iowa, based upon observations and

collections mad during 1889, 1890, 1891.  Bulletin of the United States Fish Commission. 10(1890):217-248.

Menzel, B.W., and H.L. Fierstine.  1976.  A study of the effects of stream channelization

and bank stabilization on warmwater sport fish in Iowa: Subproject No. 5.  Effects of long-reach stream channelization on distribution and abundance of fishes.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Contract 14-16-0008-745.  Iowa Cooperative Fishery Research Unit, Ames, Iowa.

Nord, R.C.  1967.  A compendium of fishery information on the Upper Mississippi River.

Upper Mississippi River Conservation Committee, Rock Island, Illinois. 238 pp. 

Olson, J.R. 1998.  Historic fish survey database.  Water Quality Bureau, Iowa

Department of Natural Resources, Des Moines, Iowa.

Olson, J.R.  2004.  Personal Communication: professional review comments.  Water

Quality Bureau, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Des Moines, Iowa.

Rathbun Fish Management and Hatchery.  2003.  Field notes and unpublished reports.

Southeast Management District, Fisheries Bureau, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Moravia, Iowa.

Robinson, D.J.  1959.  A brief electro-survey of the Iowa waters of the Missouri River. 

Quarterly Biology Reports 11(3):32-33.

Smith, P.W,. and A.C. Lopinot.  1966.  The 1966 survey of fishes from the mouths of

Mississippi River tributaries, Appendix B, pp.226-233, Illinois State Natural History Survey, Champaign, Illinois.

UMRCC.  1953.  Revised species list- northern section of the river.  Pages 19-32 in

Proceedings of the Ninth Annual Meeting, Upper Mississippi River Conservation Committee, Rock Island, Illinois.

Wenke, T.L.  1965.  Some ecological relationships of mayflies, caddisflies, and fish in

the Mississippi River near Keokuk, Iowa.  Ph.D. dissertation.  Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa.

Additional References:

Avise, J.C., W.S. Nelson, J. Arnold, R.K. Koehn, G.C. Williams, and V. Thorsteinsson.  1990.  The evolutionary genetic status of Icelandic eels.  Evolution 44:1254-1262.

Barila, T.Y., and  J.R. Stauffer, Jr.  1980.  Temperature behavioral responses of the American eel, Anguilla rostrata (Lasueur), from Maryland.   Hydrobiologica 74(1):49-51.

Bastrop, R., B. Strehlow, K. Jurss, and C. Sturmbauer.  2000.  A new molecular phylogenetic hypothesis for the evolution of freshwater eels.  Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 14:250-258.

Becker, G.C.  1983.  Fishes of Wisconsin.  University of Wisconsin Press, Madison. 1052 pp.

Cross, F.B.  1967.  Handbook of fishes of Kansas.  University of Kansas Museum of Natural History Miscellaneous Publication  No. 45, Lawrence, Kansas.  357 pp.

Denoncourt, C.E., and J.R. Stauffer, Jr.  1993.  Feeding selectivity of the American eel, Anguilla rostrata (LeSueur) in the upper Delaware River.  American Midland Naturalist 129:301-308.

Douglas, N.H.  1974.  Freshwater fishes of Louisiana.  Claitor’s Publishing Division, Sponsored by Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission, Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  443 pp.

Facey, D.E., and G. Labar.  1981.  Biology of American eels in Lake Champlain, Vermont.  Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 110(3): 396-402

Facey, D E., and M.J. Van Den Avyle.  1987.  Species profiles: life histories and environmental requirements of coastal fishes and invertebrates (North Atlantic)-American eel.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Biological Report 82(11.74).  28 pp.

                

Gelwicks, G.T.  1995.  Fish movement between the lower Missouri River and a managed floodplain wetland in Missouri.  Master’s thesis. University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri. 190 pp.

Kelly, G., editor.  1986.  Animal habitat relations handbook.  Missouri Department of Conservation and U.S.D.A. Forest Service, Jefferson City, Missouri.  293 pp.

Lee, D. S., C. R. Gilbert, C. H. Hocutt, R. E. Jenkins, D. E. McAllister, and J. R. Stauffer, Jr.  1980.  Atlas of North American freshwater fishes.  North Carolina State Museum of Natural History, Raleigh, North Carolina.  867 pp.

Lin, Y.-S., Y.-P. Poh, and C.-S. Tzeng.  2001.  A phylogeny of freshwater eels inferred from mitochondrial genes. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 20:252-261.

Page, L.M., and B.M. Burr.  1991.  A field guide to freshwater fishes: North America north of Mexico.  Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, Massachusetts. 432 pp.

Pflieger, W.L.  1989a.  Aquatic community classification system for Missouri.  Missouri Department of Conservation.  Jefferson City, Missouri.  Aquatic Series No. 19. 70 pp. plus Supplement.

Pflieger, W.L.  1989b.  The stream resources of Missouri.  D-J Project - F-1-R-28.  Study S-20.  Missouri Department of Conservation, Columbia, Missouri.  

Phillips, G.L., W.D. Schmid, and J.C. Underhill.  1982.  Fishes of the Minnesota region.  University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, Minnesota.  248 pp.

Robins, C.R., R.M. Bailey, C.E. Bond, J.R. Brooker, E.A. Lachner, R.N. Lea, and W.B. Scott.  1991.  Common and scientific names of fishes from the United States and Canada.  American Fisheries Society, Special Publication 20, Bethesda, Maryland. 183 pp.

Scott, W.B., and E. J. Crossman.  1973.  Freshwater fishes of Canada.  Fisheries Research Board of Canada Bulletin No. 184, Ottawa, Canada.  966 pp.

Smith, M.W., and J.W. Saunders.  1955.  The American eel in certain fresh waters of the maritime provinces of Canada.  Journal of the Fisheries Research Board of Canada 12(2):238-269.

Thom, R.H., and J.H. Wilson.  1980.  The natural divisions of Missouri.  Transactions of the Missouri Academy of Science  14:9-24.

Van Den Avyle, M.J.  1984.  Species profiles: life histories and environmental requirements of coastal fishes and invertebrates (South Atlantic): American eel.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service FWS/OBS-82/11.24.

                    

Photo Credits:

Upper Left:       Photo courtesy of Iowa Department of Natural Resources. http://www.iowadnr.com

Upper Right:     Photo courtesy of Garold W. Sneegas, copyright Garold W. Sneegas, Aquatic Kansas Images. http://www.nanfa.org/akiweb/AKI.htm.