American eelpout

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    <br><br>American eelpout (lat.Zoarces americanus) – sea bottom fish of the eelpout family. The largest member of the family, reaches a length of 1.1 m. Distributed in the northwestern part of the Atlantic Ocean.<br>Description<br>The maximum body length is 110 cm, and the weight is 5.4 kg; life expectancy up to 18 years.<br><br>The body is elongated (body height is 8 times in length), acne-shaped, laterally compressed, covered with very small scales. The whole body is covered with mucus. The head is large, the eyes are small, the mouth is wide with soft thick lips. There are two rows of large conical teeth on the jaws; there are no teeth on the vomer and palate. The are large with . The pelvic fins are small, located on the throat in front of the pectorals. The long dorsal fin begins above the operculums and extends to the caudal fin. It contains 95-100 soft rays, followed by 18 hard rays and then 17 more . The height of the rays is the same along the entire length of the dorsal fin, only the last rays are greatly shortened, which gives the impression of the separation of the dorsal and caudal fins. The long anal fin with 105-124 soft rays is connected to the caudal. The caudal fin is pointed. On the first branchial arch there are 4-6 branchial stamens. Vertebrae 131-144.<br><br>The color of the American eelpout is very variable. The body can be dirty yellow, reddish brown, orange, or olive green. The belly is off-white, yellowish or pinkish. The head is brownish brown or gray-brown. On the sides, there are numerous small dark spots forming oblique curved lines that extend onto the dorsal fin. A dark stripe extends from the eyes to the edge of the operculum.<br>Spreading<br>The range of the American eelpout is limited to the northwestern part of the Atlantic Ocean.<br>Reproduction<br>For breeding, American eelpouts come to the coast in the spring and form pairs. Fertilization is internal. They mate in summer, and females spawn in late summer and autumn. Caviar is large, 6-7 mm in diameter, yellow in color. Fertility depends on the size of the females and varies from 1.3 to 4.2 thousand eggs. It is deposited on solid grounds in crevices of rocks and between stones, glued together by body mucus into large lumps. The incubation period lasts 2-3 months, during which the females guard the eggs by wrapping their bodies around the clutch. During this period, the females do not feed.<br>

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