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For Lota lota, sometimes also called eelpout, see burbot.
Lyant u0.gif
Lycodichthys antarcticus habitus drawing
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Superclass: Osteichthyes
Class: Actinopterygii
Subclass: Neopterygii
Infraclass: Teleostei
Superorder: Acanthopterygii
Order: Perciformes (disputed)
Suborder: Zoarcoidei
Family: Zoarcidae
Swainson, 1839


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.[1]

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).

Popular culture[edit]

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.[2]

Genera and selected species[edit]

wolf eelpout (Lycenchelys verrillii)
saddled eelpout (Lycodes mucosus)
chevron scutepout (Lycodonus mirabilis)



  1. ^ Kawahara, R., et al. (2008). Interrelationships of the 11 gasterosteiform families (sticklebacks, pipefishes, and their relatives): a new perspective based on whole mitogenome sequences from 75 higher teleosts. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 46(1), 224-36. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2007.07.009 (HTML abstract)
  2. ^ Bowen, S. Mardi Gras on ice. CNN Money. December 28, 2009.
  3. ^ a b c d Matallanas, Jesús (2010). "Description of two new genera, Santelmoa and Bentartia and two new species of Zoarcidae (Teleostei, Perciformes) from the Southern Ocean". Polar Biology 33 (5): 659–672. doi:10.1007/s00300-009-0742-y.