Silver phase American eels, Anguilla rostrata, were collected while migrating from five rivers in Maine, U.S.A. Sex ratios varied from 49 to 98% male for these rivers and had a range of 46% over a 30 km distance between the mouths of three rivers. The proportion of male eels was inversely related to the amount of lacustrine habitat in the five drainage areas (r= -0·95, P=0·014). A combination of these sex ratios and published data from two Nova Scotia rivers showed large variation in the proportion of male eels within 1° of latitude. Thus, the hypothesis from the literature that the distribution of the sexes is dependent upon distance of larval transport was not supported. Eels migrating from lacustrine habitats within a river were predominately female, while eels migrating from fluvial habitats were predominately male, regardless of upstream distance. Apparently river habitat influences the distribution of the sexes and may play a role in sex determination. © 2001 The Fisheries Society of the British Isles.
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