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Gelatinous Seasnail
Kelp Snailfish

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Like their closest relatives the lumpsuckers (family Cyclopteridae), most snailfishes have a sucking disk on the underside of the body with which they attach themselves to rocks, algae, and other objects. The disk is composed of modified elements of the pelvic fins. Snailfishes are differentiated by their elongate (versus rounded) bodies, continuous dorsal fin (versus two dorsal fins), and lack of scales or other armor. They typically are soft and covered with gelatinous tissue.

About 20 species occur in the Arctic, compared to a total of about 335 worldwide. Adults of most Arctic species live on the sea floor; a few are both benthic and pelagic. Females deposit a clump of adhesive eggs on algae, coral, mollusc shells, tubeworm casings, and other objects. Adults guard the developing eggs. Most species of snailfish hatch at an advanced stage of development and settle on substrate; relatively few take up a pelagic existence. Adults eat small crustaceans, worms, clams, and fish eggs.


Page Author: Kitty & Tony Mecklenburg
Updated: Feb 21, 2009

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