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National Aquarium - Wolf Eel

Wolf Eel

Anarrhichthys ocellatus

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The wolf eel is not a true eel, but part of the Anarhichadidae family of “wolf fishes”. This fish likes to live in rocky areas and is able to squeeze into small crevices due to its long, slender body. The wolf eel is gray, with many dark vertical bands and spots. It has an impressive appearance with strong jaws and sharp, spiky front teeth.

Wolf eels are attentive parents. Both males and females will wrap their bodies around the egg mass to keep it in place and protect it from predators. Only one wolf eel will leave the eggs to hunt at a time. A pair of wolf eels may remain together and mate for life.

Did You Know?

The wolf eel has been known to be friendly to divers, even gently eating out of their hands!


The wolf eel eats hard-shelled animals such as snails, clams, crabs, and sea urchins.


The wolf eel can reach nearly 8 feet long.


This fish lives in the North Pacific from the Sea of Japan, to islands off the coast of Alaska, to the coast of southern California.

Population Status

This species is not threatened.


Sharks, large fish

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