Gorgasia is one of the two genera that belong to the subfamily Heterocongrinae (common name: Garden Eels). This genus is classified by the behavioral pattern of burrowing 75% of their bodies in the sandy substrate they live in and protruding their upper body into the water current above, giving the appearance that they are planted into the ground (origin of common name). This protruding behavior serves a multipurpose functionality to their survival.

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  • Gorgasia is one of the two genera that belong to the subfamily Heterocongrinae (common name: Garden Eels). This genus is classified by the behavioral pattern of burrowing 75% of their bodies in the sandy substrate they live in and protruding their upper body into the water current above, giving the appearance that they are planted into the ground (origin of common name). This protruding behavior serves a multipurpose functionality to their survival. The first function serves as a method of collection of their prey. Most members of this genus prey on zooplankton floating in the passing current, while some species (i.e. G. hawaiiensis) will prey on small fish eggs. The second function of the burrowing behavior allows for avoidance of predation. Whenever in the presence of a predator, most commonly the Pacific Snake Eel Ophicthus triserialis, garden eels will retreat back into their burrows and hide. Similarly, during the night hours (non-light hours) when zooplankton populations are low, these eels will return to their burrows and cap them off while they sleep. Other key characteristics of this genus includes colonial living species, sometimes with a density of up to 40 individuals in a meter-by-meter territory, as well as a metamorphosis stage between the egg stage and adulthood. Colonial living aides in evasion of predators and plays a vital role in their sexual reproduction (see section labelled “Reproduction”). (en)
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  • Gorgasia is one of the two genera that belong to the subfamily Heterocongrinae (common name: Garden Eels). This genus is classified by the behavioral pattern of burrowing 75% of their bodies in the sandy substrate they live in and protruding their upper body into the water current above, giving the appearance that they are planted into the ground (origin of common name). This protruding behavior serves a multipurpose functionality to their survival. (en)
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  • Gorgasia (en)
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