Fact File:

Common Name(s):
Eelpout, Viviparous Blenny 

Scientific Name:
Zoarces viviparous

Usual Size:
30 cm

UK Record Weights from rod/line:
13 oz  (368g) Redcar Shore,Yorkshire H.Hanison 1982
Boat:  N/K
Norway:  560g  Nevlunghavn, 17.01.88 

MAFF / NFSA Minimum Size:
Boat: N/A

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. 

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. AH).

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

Small crustaceans (?). Exact diet not known at the time of writing.

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. 

Additional Notes:
All reports to the Shorewatch Biological Recording Scheme are very welcome.
This small fish is captured and eaten in the Baltic and the northern part of its range where it is common.
Other known excellent photograph is on the Norwegian web site of Frank Emil Moen.
Norwegian Marine ***

GuestBook / MessageBoards @ 

Return to the