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Author: (Linnaeus, 1758)

Zoarces viviparus (Linnaeus, 1758)

Diagnosis: body moderately elongate, scales minute, embedded, skin very slimy. Mouth terminal; gill opening large and extending below pectoral fin base. Dorsal fin with shallow depression near tail, the finrays at this point short and spine-like; pelvic fins present. Vertebrae 101-126 (usually 108-118). Colour: very variable (depending on habitat); often greyish-brown above, yellowish below, with one or two series of dark blotches along body and on dorsal fin; pectoral fins edged with yellow, sometimes almost orange. Size: to 52 cm, usually 25-35 cm.

Habitat: benthic on rocky shores under stones, among algae and in tide-pools, between tide marks down to 40 m, in marine and brackish waters. Food: gastropods, chironomids, crustaceans, eggs and fry of fishes. Reproduction: viviparous, with a gestation period of about 4 months; mating in autumn (August-September); new-born fry about 40 mm SL, about 10-405 per female; mature towards second year of life.

Distribution: White Sea, Cheshskaya Guba and Murman coast (Barents Sea) southward to English Channel (River Somme); eastern coasts of Scotland, England, also Irish Sea; the Orkneys, Shetlands and in shallow waters of North Sea and Baltic.

Eggs, larvae and young stages. Rathke, 1883: 1-68, fig. 1-67 | McIntosh, 1885: 429 | Jungersen, 1889: 102-131 | Kolster, 1905: 1-46, 5 pl. | Duncker & Mohr, 1928: 101.
Otoliths (sagitta). Werner, 1928: 569, fig. 41 | Frost, 1929: 124, pl. I (fig. 19) | Chaine, 1956: 270, pl. VI | Schmidt W., 1968: 48, pl. 9 (fig. 129) | Weiler, 1968: 130 (bibliogr.).

Viviparous eelpout (Zoarces viviparus)