Join the Seattle Aquarium for Winter Fishtival, where we’ll feature different sea animals and fun activities each day. January 4 is all about wolf eels, which actually aren’t eels at all—they’re fish! See below for some fun wolf eel facts, then join us at Winter Fishtival to learn more.
Wolf eels can be up to eight feet long and have over 200 vertebrae (compare that to the 33 in human spines!). They make their homes in caves and crevices in water that’s as shallow as subtidal and as deep as 700 feet. Their powerful jaws help them grip and crush a variety of prey including crabs, sea urchins, snails, mussels and clams.
Juvenile wolf eels look quite different from adults: they’re burnt orange in color and spotted. Mature wolf eels can range from bluish gray to brown to green—even red. Regardless of age or color, every wolf eel has a dorsal fin that runs the length of its body, as well as a unique pattern of dark spots that allows it be individually identified.
See a wolf eel making friends with a volunteer diver in our Underwater Dome in this video!