Meet the Ocean Floor’s Most Popular Creature, the Garden Eel!
Known as ‘chin anago’ in Japanese, the garden eels at Churaumi Aquarium are just as popular as their manta rays and whale sharks.
There are always people in front of their tank watching them with smiling faces, and it is impossible to get bored of them no matter how long you stand and watch.
This is because the way their charming little faces pop up from amongst the sand and sway is rather amusing.
Their Japanese name comes from the name of a dog breed, the Japanese Chin. With big eyes and cute faces, they are indeed similar to one another.
‘Chin anago’ is a type of eel distributed in the waters of Okinawa, the Indian Ocean, and the Western Pacific.
They can grow up to 40m in length and they live in sand beds which have a depth of up to 10m where the flow of water is good.
With half of their body buried in the sand, everyone in the group faces the same way so as to eat the flowing zooplankton.
They also have very timid personalities, so when they are surprised or enemies draw close, they hide themselves quickly within the sand. However, because they use their mucus to harden the sand, their burrows do not collapse.
It is possible to meet the Chin anago at various diving spots, including those around Onna village, Mizushima island and the Kerama islands.
Because they are highly alert, it is not easy to see them up close. But, if you are willing to wait quietly for a while, then they may slowly show their faces one by one.
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