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Any of several North American pikes (family Esocidae), distinguished from the northern pike and muskellunge by their smaller size, completely scaled cheeks and gill covers, and banded or chainlike markings. The chain pickerel (Esox niger) grows to about 2 ft (0.6 m) and a weight of about 3 lbs (1.4 kg). The barred (E. americanus) and grass (E. vermiculatus) pickerels reach a maximum weight of about 1 lb (0.5 kg).
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on pickerel, visit Britannica.com.