Spotted garden-eel Heteroconger hassi

  Tropical reef fish

Spotted garden-eel

Spotted garden-eel Heteroconger hassi

Identity card

Spotted garden-eel

Scientific name:
Heteroconger hassi
Congridae, Heterocongrinae
Year of description:
Klausewitz & Eibl-Eibesfeldt,
IUCN Status:
Least Concern

Not Evaluated


Red Sea and tropical waters of the Indian Ocean and Western Pacific.


The spotted garden-eel is 35-40 cm long and about 14 mm in diameter.


The spotted garden-eel is 35-40 cm long and about 14 mm in diameter.


It feeds primarily on plankton.

Spotted garden-eel Heteroconger hassi

At Nausicaá, garden-eels sometimes move to a different location during the night.


It is difficult to photograph in the wild because it detects the vibrations caused by the air bubbles of divers and hides as soon as they approach.

Its burrow, in the shape of a vertical tube, is dug between 7 and 45 metres deep on sandy slopes exposed to the currents but sheltered from the waves.

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Where is the animal to be found?

The spotted garden-eel lives on seagrass or sandy sea beds. It lives in colonies of several dozen to several hundred individuals. The space between the different garden-eels is constant.

How can it be recognised?

The body of this fish is long and thin like the body of an eel. It can bury itself completely in the sand. It is fearful, only part of its body is visible, the rest of its body stays permanently in its hole. It stands upright, with its tail anchored in its burrow, into which it retreats when danger approaches.

What is distinctive about it?

Even during the breeding season, spotted garden-eels stay in their burrows. Male and female neighbours come together and intertwine before releasing sperm and eggs. Juveniles live deeper in their burrows than adults.

Spotted garden-eel Heteroconger hassi

Where can I find it at Nausicaá?

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