Fish Doctor, Gymnelus viridis

Although this fish has an unusual name, nobody knows how it came by it! The fish doctor's head is broad, but its body is slender and gradually tapers toward the tail. They have fleshy lips and cheeks and small eyes high up on the head. The long dorsal fin is soft-rayed and continuous with the caudal and anal fins, joining in such a manner that the caudal fin is indistinguishable. There are no pelvic fins and the pectoral fins are small. Fish doctors are green or brown in colour, with dark bands or mottling. In males, the anal fin is dark, but in females it is yellow or light brown. These fish have a circumpolar distribution and range from Alaska, through the Canadian Arctic and the North Atlantic from Greenland along the coast of Labrador. The fish doctor lives throughout the year in the waters of the Arctic Ocean, which reaches temperatures as low as -1.9°C in the winter. Occurring from the intertidal zone to deep water, sand and muddy bottoms with seaweed are their preferred habitat, but they sometimes burrow under rocks. Little information has been gathered concerning the biology of this species, but it most likely feeds on bottom dwelling organisms such as marine worms. Spawning is thought to occur in late summer or early autumn, when females release eggs into the water that are externally fertilized.