Seattle Dive Tours

Spring in Puget Sound

Puget Sound in the Spring… from Laura James on Vimeo.

Seattle videographer Laura James has put together this very fun video of life in Puget Sound over at one of our favorite dive sites, Alki Beach Junk Yard. So many fish and invertebrates in the video, my favorites were Striped nudibranch, Grunt sculpin, and a juvenile Wolf eel.

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Wolf Eels in Puget Sound

Wolf Eel by Steve Zedekar

Wolf Eel by Steve Zedekar

After descending and getting settled into the dive, our dive leaders always check around for cracks, crevasses, and midden piles (a mound of shells and broken up bits of crab) that might indicate the presence Wolf eel (Anarrhichthys ocellatus). Wolf eels aren’t true eels, but are related to Atlantic wolffish instead. They can grow to 8 feet in length and over 40 pounds. Wolf eels feed on invertebrates such as mussels, clams, and crabs. This is why looking for midden is a good way to locate a nearby den. Sometimes Wolf eels and Giant pacific octopus will compete for the best den spaces as they both look for the same den characteristics.

Many times divers will notice two Wolf eels in a den together. This is a breeding pair who mate for life and cooperate to protect their eggs from predators such as Rock fish and Sculpin. After about 4 months the eggs hatch and the baby Wolf eels float away on the current, called a pelagic phase, before eventually becoming mature enough to find a mate. Juvenile Wolf eels are a reddish-orange color that changes to dull grey as they mature.

Juvenile Wolf Eel by Steve Zedekar

Juvenile Wolf Eel by Steve Zedekar

To divers Wolf eels look fierce but are generally relaxed and friendly. There have been reports of Wolf eels being preyed upon by Harbor seals, but they have few other natural enemies. Native Americans historically hunted Wolf eels for ceremonial feasts, but they are generally not hunted today. Ready to meet a Wolf eel face to face? Book your tour online or contact Seattle Dive Tours for more information.

Wolf Eels of Day Island Wall

Wolf Eels of Day Island Wall

Check out this fun video shot by Seattle Dive Tours friend David Smith, who is a biologist with the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium. Wolf eels are found throughout Puget Sound and are very friendly to divers.

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