Atlantic Wolffish

The Atlantic Wolffish (Anarhichas lupus) is a marine (saltwater) fish in the Anarhichadidae family of wolffish. It is also known as the Seawolf, Atlantic Catfish, Ocean Catfish, Devil Fish, or Wolf Eel.

The Atlantic Wolffish has a long eel-like, smooth, slippery body. It can vary in colour, from purplish-brown to dull olive-brown, olive-green, or grey. It has a dorsal (back) fin and side fins. It has rounded caudal fin. Its teeth are strong, conical, and fang-like. Behind the conical teeth in the upper jaw, there are three rows of crushing teeth. The central row has four pairs of molars and the outer rows of teeth are blunted and conical. The lower jaw has two rows of molars behind the conical teeth. The wolffish’s throat is also scattered with serrated teeth.

Atlantic Wolffish

It can grow to 150 centimetres (60 inches) long. 

It is found in the cold or near-freezing seas of the Northern Atlantic Ocean, from Canada to northern Europe. It prefers a rocky, sandy, sea floor. 

It swims slowly, from side to side, like an eel. However, mostly it is a stationary fish, rarely moving from its rocky home or cave.

The Atlantic Wolfish feeds on crabs, clams, cockles, sea stars, and sea urchins. It uses its strong jaws to eat shellfish. It is benthic – a bottom feeder. 

The female lays large eggs in a nest on the ocean floor in shoal water. The eggs stick together in loose clumps. The male protects the eggs for up to 4 months.

Atlantic Wolffish
Atlantic Wolffish

Location of photographs: Sea Life London Aquarium, England 

Photographer: Martina Nicolls


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