Conger & Garden Eels | Hawaiian Marine Life

Conger and Garden Eels

Conger eels have a nearly cylindrical body (which becomes compressed posteriorly), very well-developed pectoral fins, and a fairly large gill opening on the lower half of the body. They do not have scales, and their lips have a free margin on the side. Congers are often known as White Eels in the Hawaiian Islands and were once a common food source. Congers usually have large eyes and are known to be nocturnal feeders. Having distinctly small teeth, they usually prey on crustaceans and fishes.


Hawaiian garden eels belong to the same family as congers and are typically found in sandy areas where strong currents occur. Unlike conger eels, the Hawaiian garden eel feeds on plankton and is more abundant at depths of about 80 feet and deeper. A timid species, they will sink into the sand when approached. A cautious, slow-moving diver might be lucky enough to spot thousands along steep sandy slopes, waiting to feed on drifting plankton. Reaching lengths to about 1.5 feet, the Hawaiian garden eel is endemic to the Hawaiian islands.


*Due to the constant rotation of animals back to the ocean, we cannot guarantee the presence of any specific animal.

Did you know?

The following are three species of congers found in shallow-waters of Hawaiʻi, two of which are endemic: black margin conger (endemic), Hawaiian mustache conger (endemic), and barred conger.

Hawaiian Name: puhi ūhā
Scientific Name: Congridae
Where to See: Living Reef Building, Mid Reef*

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