Fun fact: We don’t know all the details about how eels reproduce. Despite the animals being a major part of many human diets for hundreds, if not thousands of years, humans only recently cracked the code of these animals’ complex and many-staged life cycle. For centuries, eel larvae were thought to be an entirely different species, and no less a mind than young Sigmund Freud gave up after searching fruitlessly for the reproductive organs in an eel, and turned his studies elsewhere, with famous results. Though we now know that eels have a catadromous life cycle, which means that adult eels live in fresh water, and travel downstream to the sea to spawn (sometimes all the way across the ocean), we aren’t entirely sure of every step of the process.
And maybe that’s true for other marine creatures, too. For instance, the famous lake monsters, like the Loch Ness Monster, Ogopogo, or “Champ” of Lake Champlain.
In this video, a woman with truly epic eye makeup puts forth a theory that perhaps the legendary lake monsters don’t live in the lake at all, but rather spawn here, like a salmon who comes in from the sea. (This is called an anadromous life cycle.) They may not stay long, which is why sightings are so rare and sonar sweeps of these bodies of water are so disappointing. And their offspring might be tiny or in a form that most do not recognize as being “lake monsters” — much as scientists used to confuse eel larvae.
According to the video, the first sighting of the Loch Ness Monster was not actually in the lake, but in the Ness River 1500 years ago.
We don’t know about a familiar and ubiquitous animals like the eel. What more might we not know about one who has only occasionally glimpsed? Eel life cycles can be twenty years long. Imagine if a lake monster’s is in the hundreds.