; subclass Actinopterygii, order Scorpaeniformes)
A large family of marine, cold-water fish that have thickset, almost rotund, short bodies with scaleless skin that bears many rows of bony thorns. Both second dorsal and anal fins are short. The presence of a sucking disc formed by modifications of the ventral fins is characteristic of the family. Cyclopterus lumpus (Atlantic lumpsucker) is found on both sides of the N. Atlantic, the larger males sometimes exceeding 35 cm in length. Treated with salt and black pigment, the roe is at times sold as cheap caviar. Atlantic snailfish, e.g. Liparis liparis, also have a scaleless skin, but no bony thorns or denticles. The dorsal and anal fins are much longer than those of the lumpsucker, but snailfish are also bottom-dwelling. There are about 140 species, found in the colder waters of the N. Atlantic and the Antarctic.
Subjects: Zoology and Animal Sciences.