The eelpouts are the ray-finned fish family Zoarcidae. As the common name suggests, they are somewhat eel-like in appearance, with elongated bodies and the dorsal and anal fins continuous with the caudal fin. All of the roughly 220 species are marine and mostly bottom-dwelling, some at great depths.
They are conventionally placed in the "perciform" assemblage; in fact, the Zoarcoidei seem to be specialized members of the Gasterosteiformes-Scorpaeniformes group of Acanthopterygii.
The largest member of the family is the ocean pout (Zoarces americanus), which may reach 1.1 m in length. Other notable family members include the slipskins (Lycodapus) and unernaks (Gymnelus).
The Eelpout Festival that takes place in February in Walker, Minnesota, in the United States, celebrates the burbot, which is actually a cod-like fish misleadingly known locally as the eelpout.
Genera and selected species
- Sepkoski, J. (2002). "A compendium of fossil marine animal genera". Bulletins of American Paleontology 364: p.560. Retrieved 2011-05-19.Â