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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)


Quaternary Neogene Paleogene Holocene Pleist. Plio. Miocene Oligocene Eocene Paleocene Anarrhichthys Anarhichas Quaternary Neogene Paleogene Holocene Pleist. Plio. Miocene Oligocene Eocene Paleocene


  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. 
  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.