Spotted wolffish

Anarhichas minor

The spotted wolffish is very similar to its more common cousin the Atlantic wolffish, except it has a spotted coloration similar as leopards. It can get quite large or up to 144 cm long. Unconfirmed sources indicate a maximum size of 180 cm. Common size in catches is 50-100 cm.


It is found in European waters from Spitzbergen in the north to the northern North Sea in the south. It is also around the Faroe Islands, in southern Greenlandic waters and from Labrador to Cape Cod in North America. It lives all around Iceland but is more common in the colder waters in the north and east. It chooses deeper waters than the Atlantic wolffish, or a depth of between 200 and 400 m, mostly on mud or sand bottom.


It has strong jaws, but not as strong as the Atlantic wolffish. It mainly feeds on echinoderms such as brittle stars. Curiously, it is not a good friend of its close relative, the Atlantic wolffish as the spotted wolffish likes to eat the eggs of the Atlantic wolffish. Very little is known about the spawning of the spotted wolffish but it is probably similar but in deeper waters than the Atlantic wolffish.


The spotted wolffish is fished throughout the year, but a peak in catches in autumn might indicate migrations from the spawning grounds, similar as with the Atlantic wolffish. 


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