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a genus of birds of the family Alcidae of the order Charadriiformes. There are three species: the crested auklet (A. cristatelld), with a body length of about 25 cm; the whiskered auklet (A. pygmaea), measuring about 20 cm long; and the least auklet (A. pusilla), about 19 cm long. Seabirds, they spend all their time except for the mating season over open seas. The Aethia are distributed in the northern parts of the Pacific Ocean. In the USSR they inhabit the islands and coasts of the Bering Sea, the Sea of Okhotsk, and the Chukchi Sea. They nest in large colonies in crevices of cliffs and on rock streams; they feed on small marine invertebrates. In some places they have commercial significance; the meat is used.