"I may be small, but boy am I shiny." The first reader to identify this glistening creature will win a free Chesapeake Bay Foundation T-shirt. Enter your guesses as comments in the section below. Ready, set, go!
UPDATE: It is an eel larva, called a leptocephalus. A few readers guessed "eel," but I am giving the prize to Liz, who was the most specific in writing that it was this phase of the eel's lifecycle.
American eels have a fascinating lifecycle. They're spawned in the Sargasso Sea, near Bermuda, and grow into larva called leptocephalus. Then they migrate to the Chesapeake Bay and other waterways along the East Coast, where they spend most of their lives as a greenish/yellowish color in freshwater streams. After about 20 years, they mature and become "silver eels," with their bodies transforming dramatically -- their stomachs vanishing and their eyes bulging -- and they swim all the way back to the Sargasso Sea to mate, spawn and die.
Congrats Liz! And thanks to everyone for playing.
By Tom Pelton
Chesapeake Bay Foundation
(Photo: NOAA/ S. Johnsen using images from E. Widder )
(I will give the answer and the photo credit tomorrow...I don't want to ruin the surprise!) Tom Pelton