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(lumpfish or lumpsucker), a family of marine fishes of the order Perciformes. The body is short, rounded in front, and compressed in the rear. There are two dorsal fins; the anterior dorsal fin is sometimes covered by a lump of skin. The ventral fins form a sucker. The skin is either bare or covered with bony tubercles. The fishes measure up to 60 cm long and weigh up to 5.5 kg. The males, which are smaller than the females, acquire during spawning a bright breeding coloration, with a blue-green back and a purple abdomen.
Of the nine or ten genera, two are found in the North Atlantic Ocean and seven or eight in northern parts of the Pacific. They are slightly mobile bottom fish, living at depths of 100 to 400 m. They feed on small fish and crustaceans. In the spring the fishes approach the shore to spawn. The eggs are large and are laid in empty mollusk shells or in depressions in the rocky bottom. The male guards the spawn until the young are hatched. Only the common lumpfish (Cyclopterus lumpus) is valued commercially; its eggs and liver are used for food.
REFERENCESAndriiashev, A. P. Ryby severnykh morei SSSR. Moscow-Leningrad, 1954.
Zhizn’zhivotnykh, vol. 4, part 1. Moscow, 1971.
V. P. MAKSIMOV