Sand eels encompass several small fish species within the sand lance family, Ammodytidae. Contrary to its name, the sand eel is not an eel at all but a distinctively slim fish with a pointed snout, giving them the look of an eel. Sand eels derive their name from their unique behavior of burrowing into the sand tail-first to escape predators.
Sand eels are a critical component of the marine ecosystem. They are a favorite food choice of many marine birds like puffins and terns, harbor porpoises, and other fish like pollack and mackerel. Sand eels sway above their holes in the sand as they feed on plankton that passes by. You can find them in oceans throughout the world; however, they are especially prominent in northern seas. Check out the map below to see where you can go diving with sand eels.