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Burbot

Lota lota Linnaeus

The burbot (Lota lota) is the only gadiform (cod-like) freshwater fish. Also known as mariah, the lawyer, and (misleadingly) eelpout, the burbot is closely related to the marine common ling and the cusk. It is the only member of the genus Lota.

Like a cross between the catfish and the eel, the burbot has a serpentine-like body, but is easily distinguished by a single barbel on the chin. The body is elongated and laterally compressed with a flattened head and single tube-like projection for each nostril. The mouth is wide, with both upper and lower jaws consisting of many small teeth. Burbot have two soft dorsal fins: the first being low and short, the second being much longer. The anal fin is low and almost as long as the dorsal fin. The caudal fin is rounded, the pectoral fins are fan-shaped, and pelvic fins are narrow with an elongate second fin ray. Having such small fins relative to body size indicate a benthos lifestyle with low swimming endurance, unable to withstand strong currents. The circular or cycloid scales are very small, making it difficult to accurately age, and thus even more challenging to manage.