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A genus of catadromous eels (with large Leptocephalus larvae that shrink in size during metamorphosis to "glass eels"), which includes about 20 species of which the European, or common eel (A. anguilla), the American eel (A.rostrata) and the Japanese eel (A. japonica) are the most important species in the northern hemisphere. The two former are widely distributed along eastern Atlantic regions, while the latter occurs in the Far East (Japan and China). Cannot be reproduced in captivity and culture depends on seasonal glass eel catches along the coast. A. anguilla is usually referred to as the common eel, common river eel, or European eel; it is cultured from the glass eel to stocking size, and in some areas to full market size (in intensive, extensive and polyculture systems). In Asia, A. japonica is cultured to market size; in Japan, Taiwan and Korea species are cultivated in intensive systems.