Ladbrooks Primary School
The Tuna/Eel's Life
How old are eels when they start to lay eggs?
They go to sea for spawning when they are about 20 years old.
What's the average of the eels when they die?
The average age of the short fin males is when they are 15 years old. The long fin males die around 20-25. The short fin females die around 20-25 and the long fin females die 35-40.
How long does it take for the eels' eggs to hatch?
It takes eggs 3 or 4 days to hatch. It takes them 7-10 months to get to New Zealand.
Do they go back to the same place when they move?
No, they don't go to the same place all the time.
What eats the eels?
Larger eels, trout, salt water species and kingfishers eat the eels.
How long have eels been on earth for?
Around 100 million years.
What is the eel's life cycle?
They go to sea to the warmer waters north of New Zealand around Samoa or Fiji to lay eggs. When they arrive in New Zealand in spring they are about the size of whitebait. They normally stay in the same lake or river most of their life. When they spawn travelling to Samoa could take them up to 6 months.
What would the eels do if the lake wasn't there?
They would go to a nearby river or lake.
Is Lake Waihora an important part of the life cycle?
Yes, the lake has heaps of eels. Fishermen catch about 400 000 eels a year.
Special thanks to Don Jellyman of NIWA who helped us a lot with the information.