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Tadpole snailfish

Tadpole snailfish

Not on Exhibit

Animal Facts

  • Scientific Name

    Nectoliparis pelagicus

  • Animal Type


  • Diet


  • Size

    to 2.4 inches (6 cm)

  • Relatives

    other snailfishes

  • Habitat

    Deep Sea

  • Range

    midwater (2,297-3281 feet, or 700-1,000 meters)

Natural History

This tiny fish wiggles like a tadpole, with its large head and narrow tail. It's soft and flabby—loose skin covers its jellylike body. The snailfish makes a tender meal for other deep sea fishes.


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.

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