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Eelpouts
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Scientific Name Zoarcidae
Conservation Status Data Defficient
Family Chordata
Habitat North Pacific
Food Plankton


The eelpouts are the ray-finned fish family Zoarcidae. As the common name suggests, they are somewhat eel-like in appearance, with elongate bodies, and the dorsal and anal fins continuous with the caudal fin. All of the approximately 220 species are marine, mostly bottom-dwelling, some at great depths. They are sometimes called "fish doctors" (not to be confused with the doctorfish or surgeon fishes).

They are traditionally placed in the "perciform" assemblage; in fact, the Zoarcoidei seem to be specialized member of the Gasterosteiformes-Scorpaeniformes group of Acanthopterygii.

The largest member of the family is the Ocean Pout (Zoarces americanus), which may reach 1.1 meter. Other notable family members include the slipskins (Lycodapus) and unernaks (Gymnelus).

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