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The Eelpout (Zoarces viviparous) can grow to 30cm.

IdentificationEdit

Elongate eel-like fish with a broad head and front half of the body (tapers towards the tail fin), and a large wide mouth. Eyes at the top of the head. Large pectoral fins. Single dorsal fin runs almost the length of the fish.

Brown with variable darker patterns.

Mucus covered skin with a few small scales.

NB: In some books the Butterfish (Pholis gunnellus), has been wrongly labelled as Zoarces viviparous and this has caused confusion amongst divers because the Butterfish is an abundant fish with a wider range but otherwise a very similar distribution to the Eelpout.

BreedingEdit

Viviparous (rare amongst British marine fish). Mating occurs in the autumn (August-September) and the eggs hatch out about two months later. (They may hatch in 4 weeks - two different references, it may also depend on temperature.)

HabitatEdit

Bottom dweller. Muddy and rocky benthic from rocky shores, estuaries to about 40 metres.

FoodEdit

Small crustaceans.

RangeEdit

North Sea, Baltic, NE Atlantic (off Scandivia). Rare at the eastern end of the English Channel. One Shorewatch Report from Dover. On the shore off the East Anglian coast, but frequency unclear because of misidentifications.

ReferencesEdit

The Aquarium Project

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