Nearly 2500 striped cusk-eels, Ophidion marginatum, were collected during a 6-yr intensive, 22-station trawl sampling of the Cape Fear River and nearby Sound and Atlantic Ocean areas in 1973-1978. Problems existed in confirming the specimens were O. marginatum rather than
the similar appearing and ranging crested cusk-eel, O. welshi. The taxonomy remains unresolved but radiographs confirmed the North Carolina specimens were O. marginatum. Catch/effort and repetitive yearly sampling was compared by month, capture by size and station, morphometric
relationships, age and growth, crest development, and food analyses. The study revealed O. marginatum was more active than previously believed, males and some females developed head crests, females were larger than males in size and many body-organ relationships, and females attain
age 4 while males live for 3 yrs. O. marginatum feeds on a variety of foods, primarily crustaceans and fishes. Much remains to be learned of this elusive and systematically confusing species.
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