State Rank: S3?
ITIS Code: 161127
National Rank: N5
Global Rank: G5
Modeled By: Anna Loan-Wilsey
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).
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).
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')
("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')
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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.