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Midwater eelpout

Midwater eelpout

Not on Exhibit

Animal Facts

  • Scientific Name

    Melanostigma pammelas

  • Animal Type


  • Diet

    krill, copepods, salps, amphipods

  • Size

    to 7 inches (17 cm)

  • Relatives

    other eelpouts

  • Habitat

    Deep Sea

  • Range

    British Columbia to central Mexico, at depths between 314 and 7,200 feet (96-2,195 meters)

Natural History

An eelpout's size and body provide clues to understanding life in the midwater. Fishes like eelpouts have weak skeletons, without much muscle, so they don't grow very large or swim very fast.

An eelpout isn't really an eel; it just looks like one, with its long, thin body. It's frequently seen curled up into an "O"—scientists think eelpouts might be disguising themselves as a jelly to avoid being eaten. Midwater eelpouts were first discovered in Monterey Bay.


Anything that finds its way into the ocean, whether it's tossed away as trash, washes off a beach or falls off a boat, may eventually make its way to the deep sea. It's important to realize that the deep sea is not so far away that it's beyond the reach of human activities. Living creatures in the deep are affected by what we do at the surface.

Cool Facts

A black lining in this eelpout's stomach hides the light of bioluminescent prey.

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