Apr 3, 2009: Not an Eel.

Tideflat Critters

But it sure looks like one!

When the tide goes out, juvenile gunnels take shelter from the elements by hiding beneath oyster shells, emerging only to surprise and delight beachcombers.

Pictured above is a penpoint gunnel, which can grow up to 18 inches long and live to depths of up to 60 feet. When the tide comes in, the fish swim around and forage for small molluscs and crustaceans. There are 6 species of gunnels found in Puget Sound. Pictured below, the crescent and the saddleback.

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  • Oyster Fan on

    Oh, and I also thought for a while that gunnels were called blennies. And I have heard them described as “blenny eels,” but when I did a google image search for blennies they didn’t look at all like the wiggly eel creatures I was trying to identify.

  • Oyster Fan on

    Is the Edible Incredible book by Virginia Pill? If so we used to sell it here in the store.
    Gunnels certainly look edible. Not exactly appetizing, but definitely edible.

    Maybe battered and fried. Maybe. Let us know!

    I’d also love to hear how the moon snail tasting goes. One of the shuckers puts moon snail through a food processor and adds it to chowder.

  • emily on

    Are these edible? I was actually searching on here for blennies-which I think are the same thing. I read a description of them in Edible?Incredible! (an awesome book I bought based on the moon snail entry comments-will be looking for one this weekend to eat-we’ll get back to you on the taste-it recommends pounding to tenderize) and was considering trying them. I had thought they were a small eel up until reading about them. Thanks!

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