Arctic Eelpout, Lycodes reticulatus
The tail of the arctic eelpout is less than 55% of its total length, making
it one of the "short-tailed" eelpouts. Its body is moderately elongate and tapers
uniformly to the tip of its tail. The dorsal fin begins just over the pectoral
fin and extends to the base of the tail where it joins with the caudal fin,
from which it is indistinguishable. The anal fin is also continuous with the
caudal fin. The pectoral fins are large and fan-like, while the pelvic fins
are very small and positioned below, and in front of, the pectoral fins. Body
colouration is variable, depending on both locality and size, but, in general,
this fish is brownish with 8 to 10 dark bands running vertically on the upper
part of the body.
This fish is generally found in the Western Atlantic and Arctic Oceans. It has been caught along the Labrador coast and the northern Gulf of St. Lawrence, in the Bering Strait, and in the northern Kara and Laptev seas. Despite its somewhat narrow distribution, there have been some studies of the ecology of the arctic eelpout. It occurs on soft bottoms, where it preys on benthic invertebrates, but it does not seem to burrow much. Larger individuals feed on clams and small fish, in addition to smaller invertebrates. Unfortunately, there have been no studies of its life history.