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garden eelsHawaiian Garden Eels
Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Subphylum: Vertebrata Class: Osteichthys Family: Congridae Subfamily: Heterocngrinae Genus: Gorgasia Species: hawaiiensis
Scientific name: Gorgasia hawaiiensis
Common name: Hawaiian Garden Eels
Hawaiian name: Puhi

Hawaiian Garden eels are endemic to the Hawaiian Islands. Garden eels burrow into sandy substrates at the edge of reefs usually in water deeper than 70 feet. Their tails are well evolved for burrowing and, like snake eels, they have a hardened tip. Adults average 2 feet in length. Their coloration depends on the color of the sand in which they live. Garden eels live in colonies, sometimes numbering hundreds of individuals, on the sandy slopes below the edge of the reef where the current is strong and dependable. They rely upon a steady supply of plankton drifting by for sustenance.

Garden eels live in colonies with burrows about one foot apart–just far enough to discourage conflict between neighbors. They are exceedingly shy and retreat into their burrows at the slightest hint of danger. They often take many minutes to re-emerge once danger has passed.

[Back to Reef Species Guide]