Monkey Faced Eel

(Cebidichthys violaceus)

MonkeyFacedEelThe monkey-faced
eel is a common
resident of tide
pools and kelp beds
in California.  Living
in crevices and
under rocks, the
monkey faced eel is
not a true eel.  It is in the “prickleback” family of fish.  Its
characteristic face resembles a monkey, and its body can reach a
length of 30 inches.  The monkey-face eel leaves its hiding places to
forage for food.  Female monkey-face eels lay their eggs on rocky
surfaces under water and guard their nest sites.  Young monkey
faced eels eat small zooplanton but, as adults, they eat crustaceans
and algae.

Predators of monkey-face eels include birds-egrets and merganzers,
and some fish such as rockfish.  Humans eat monkey-faced eel as
well.  Fishermen who fish for eels are called “Pokepolers.”  They use
a straight pole with a baited line attached to the end and drop the
line into holes to lure the eels out.

Visit the Animal Exhibit to see the baby eels in our salt water tank.

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