Garden Eels

© Johan Boshoff

Common family name

Garden eels

Others in family

Freckled, Spotted, Common, Red Sea, Taylor’s and Zebra Eels

Scientific name



Garden Eels can measure up to 70 cm.


Garden eels have snake-like bodies and no scales. They have large lips and small gill openings. Their dorsal, caudal and anal fins are continuous. Some garden eels are orange and white in colour.

General Info

Garden Eels are a part of the Heterocongridae family which comprises of two genera and 33 species. Their names derive from their manner of protruding their upper bodies from the sand like plants. They are very shy creatures and can be found living in groups in big groups in the sandy substrate. Each eel lives in its own burrow. An eel forms the burrow walls by gluing sand together from a secreting gland at the tail. They reproduce by spawning their eggs into the water.


Garden eels feed on plankton.


They can be found in all tropical and temperate oceans across the world.

Common Species

Black garden eel - Heteroconger perissodon
Splendid garden eel - Gorgasia preclara
White-spotted garden eel - Gorgasia maculatus

© Johan Boshoff