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Prowfish, Zaprora silenus

[Prowfish, Zaprora silenus, fishprow.jpg=46KB]

There is only one species of prowfish, Zaprora silenus, in the family Zaproridae. This fish is recognized by the blunt face, large pores on head ringed with blue or white, no pelvic fins, and a large caudal fin. Prowfish range along the Pacific coast of North America from the Gulf of Alaska to Monterey Bay, California, and also to Japan. The largest prowfish on record was 34.5 inches (88 cm). Prowfish are generally found near the bottom at depths of 29-357 meters, however usually above 183 m. The young are pelagic, often associated with jellyfish. In the Kodiak Laboratory aquarium, Eric Munk found that jellyfish were the only prey our prowfish would eat. Eric discovered this only after the prowfish rejected other prey, such as shrimp, for several months, becoming quite emaciated.

Scientific name: Greek za (an intensifying prefix) and prora (prow); and silenus (a drunkard Greek demigod who fell in a marsh on a revel and became covered with slime).


Digital photo by Jan Haaga. References (a complete list) in the text include: Kessler (1985), Eschmeyer et al. (1983), and  Hart (1973). For further reference refer to 2004 article by AFSC biologists, Keith Smith et al., titled Distribution and Biology of Prowfish (Zaprora silenus) in the Northeast Pacific in Fisheries Bulletin.

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