The spawn of the eel hatch in the Sargasso Sea where they develop into tiny transparent larvae which then make their way, riding currents, towards the rivers of Europe of America. By the time of their arrival they have become tiny glass eels or elvers, still transparent, but cylindrical in shape. The American elvers arrive at their destinations after a year while those making for Europe take about three. They travel up the rivers becoming darker as they do so, and then make their homes in freshwater lakes, rivers and ditches. In the United Kingdom records have shown that males spend around nine years and females 12 in fresh water environments before heading back to their spawning grounds in the Sargasso Sea. At this point they become a bright silver. What I am not sure of is whether the spawn of a particular eel return to the same place as the parent inhabited. Since the larvae of the eel do not seem to be swept completely at random across the oceans and seem to have some directional capability, it is not impossible. Adults are usually blackish-green in colour with a slightly yellowish underbelly. Because of their high fat content eels do not keep well, for which reason they are often sold live or smoked, which they take very well.