The wolf eel is not a true eel. Instead, they belong to the wolffish family along with their similar-looking relative, the Bering wolffish. The long, tapered tail and continuous fins make the wolf eel appear eel-like, thus giving them their name. True eels often lack obvious pectoral fins (paired fins close to the head) and must undergo metamorphosis from a larval form. Wolf eels have large, prominent pectoral fins and do not undergo such a dramatic metamorphosis into adulthood.
Like the wolffish, the wolf eel has large, crushing teeth for eating shellfish such as clams, crab, urchins, and starfish.