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Temporal range: Upper Cretaceous–recent
|Northern pike (E. lucius)|
| Esox lucius|
Esox is a genus of fresh water fish. It is the only living genus in the family Esocidae. The oldest known example of Esox is the fossil Esox tiemani. It dates to about 62 million years ago and was found in Alberta, Canada. Esox are commonly called pike and pickerel. They are found in the northern parts of North America, Europe and Asia. One species, Esox lucius, the Northern pike, is found in both Europe and North America. Esox are large predatory fish with a long cylindrical body. They have a green color (various shades) with yellow eyes. Pike and pickerel share a forked tail fin and a large pointed head. Their dorsal and anal fins are located far back on their bodies. All species have very sharp teeth.
Currently there are five species in the Esox family. The study of this family is not complete. There are several known hybrids between species which occur naturally. The five species are:
- Esox lucius - The Northern Pike; found in both Eurasia and North America.
- Esox reichertii - The Amur pike; found in the Amur river in Asia.
- Esox masquinongy - The Muskellunge; found in northern and eastern North America.
- Esox niger - The Chain pickerel; native to the U.S. states of Georgia and North Carolina.
- Esox americanus - The redfin pickerel; also found in Georgia and North Carolina.
- Froese, Rainer, and Daniel Pauly, eds. (2008). "Esocidae" in FishBase. December 2008 version.
- Joseph S. Nelson, Fishes of the World (Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2006), p. 205
- Lawrence M. Page; Brooks M. Burr, Peterson Field Guide to Freshwater Fishes of North America North of Mexico (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011), p. 60
- Pike: Biology and Exploitation ed. John Craig (London: Chapman & Hall 1996), p. 2
- Fishes of the Middle Savannah River Basin: With Emphasis on the Savannah , ed. Barton C. Marcy (Athens, GA; London: University of Georgia Press, 2005), p. 241
- Mark Everard, Britain's Freshwater Fishes (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2013), p. 94
- Vin T. Sparano, The Complete Outdoors Encyclopedia (New York: Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Griffin, 2000), p. 482