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For Lota lota, sometimes also called eelpout, see burbot.
Halfbarred Pout Gymnelus hemifasciatus FemaleTypeA.jpg
Gymnelus hemifasciatus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Perciformes
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 300 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 Zoarces americanus, which may reach 1.1 m in length. Other notable family members include Lycodapus and 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]


This family contains about 61 genera and 300 species:

Bothrocara brunneum
Lycodes turneri
Pachycara sp.
Zoarces viviparus


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., Miya, M., Mabuchi, K., Lavoué, S., Inoue, J.G., Satoh, T.P., Kawaguchi, A. & Nishida, M. (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. 
  2. ^ Bowen, S. Mardi Gras on ice. CNN Money. December 28, 2009.
  3. ^ a b Matallanas, J. & Corbella, C. (2012): Redescription of Iluocoetes Jenyns, 1842; proposal of a new genus, Argentinolycus, for Iluocoetes elongatus (Smitt, 1898), and description of Patagolycus melastomus gen. et sp. nov. (Teleostei, Zoarcidae). Zootaxa, 3296: 1–18.
  4. ^ Iglésias, S.P., Dettai, A. & Ozouf-Costaz, C. (2012): Barbapellis pterygalces, new genus and new species of a singular eelpout (Zoarcidae: Teleostei) from the Antarctic deep waters. Polar Biology, 35 (2): 215-220.
  5. ^ a b Matallanas, J. (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.
  6. ^ Nazarkin, M.V., Shinohara, G. & Shirai, S.M. (2014): Phylogeny and taxonomy of Petroschmidtia teraoi (Katayama, 1943) (Osteichthyes: Perciformes: Zoarcidae). Zootaxa, 3780 (1): 171–193.