Wolf Eel


A face only a mother could love? 

A fish with a face of a wolf & the body of an eel, The WOLF EEL.

High on my Bucket list to dive with. I’m asked quite frequently where I want to diving & what I want to see. And if I’m going to see one, Guess I’m going to have to breakdown & wear a 7 mm suit, maybe better yet a dry-suite. Maybe our friends at DUI can help.

The wolf-eel somewhat resembles a moray eel, but it is actually not an eel at all. It is a member of the “wolffish” family. Despite its menacing appearance, this fish is very shy and docile. It does not attack unless provoked.

What do they Look like?
Someone rightly said that the Wolf Eel has the appearance of a fish, eyes of a snake, jaws of a wolf and the grace of a gold fish.

The head is a large square structure with a bump on the top. They have huge, soft lips surrounding the mouth.

The jaw of a wolf ell is strongest mouths created by nature to crush hard shelled creatures. It has a row of 4 to 6 conical fang like teeth meant for biting. The back rows of teeth comprise of strong molars for pulverizing the prey.

The Wolf Eel has a long, slender body. It does not have a pelvic fin like other fish. There is one dorsal fin extending from the head to the end of the body. The body shows unique pattern of spots. Wolf Eel has a cartilaginous skeleton which helps it flex its body to enter shelves and crevices. This helps it to move in a wave like pattern.

Photo credit: Anacortes Diving and Supply
Photo credit: Anacortes Diving and Supply

Interesting Facts: 

  • The wolf-eel can grow to 8 feet in length and weigh almost 40 lbs.
  • They survive very cold temperatures up to -30 degrees. They have a special anti freeze factor in their blood, which keeps it fluid in extremely low temperatures.
  • Male and female will pair-bond for life and live in the same den.
  • Both parents take turns curling their bodies around their egg mass to protect it from predators.
  • Young Wolf Eels, live on the surface of the water till 2 years of age, so that they get more air.

The wolf-eel is native to near-shore rocky reefs and stony bottom areas in the North Pacific from Japan to Southern California. It lives in a cave or crevice where it establishes a den or lair in which it rests during daylight hours. At night the wolf-eel prowls the reef and nearby bottom areas looking for crabs, clams, snails and sea urchins to eat.


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July 25, 2017 |

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