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Marine Animal Encyclopedia

Spotted Cusk-eel Chilara taylori

As it is a favorite food of sea lions, cormorants, and other diving birds, the spotted cusk-eel is most active at night or on gloomy, sunless days. If danger threatens, this eel-shaped fish can quickly slip between rocky rubble or bury itself tail-first in sand or mud. Unlike true eels, it has scales and pelvic fins. The latter are reduced to one split ray set very far forward under the head. Its eggs are laid in open water and hatch into larvae that live close to the surface. These develop into juveniles that drift for an extended period before settling down to a sea-bed existence.

While the spotted cusk-eel lives in shallow water, one of its close relatives, the basketweave cusk-eel, has been found over 26,000 ft (8,000 m) deep in the abyssal zone, the greatest depth for any fish.

Spotted Cusk-eel habitat mapzoom image
  • Order Ophidiiformes
  • Length Up to 15 in (37 cm)
  • Weight Not recorded
  • Depth 0–900 ft (0–280 m)
  • Distribution Temperate and subtropical waters of eastern Pacific