Thursday, January 24, 2013

Atlantic Wolffish


Atlantic Wolffish | Eel-like in body shape, the Atlantic wolffish are blenny family members to live in the cold Arctic waters of the Atlantic and Pacific. They are members of the family Anarhichadidae that includes seven species. The Atlantic wolffish also known as the Seawolf, Atlantic catfish, ocean catfish, eel wolf (the generic name of the Pacific relative), or sea cat, is a marine fish, the largest of the catfish family Anarhichadidae. Although it looks frightening, the Atlantic wolffish is only a threat to humans in defending itself from the water. The Atlantic wolffish inhabit both the west and east coasts of the Atlantic Ocean.

Scientific classification
Kingdom:     Animalia
Phylum:     Chordata
Class:     Actinopterygii
Order:     Perciformes
Family:     Anarhichadidae
Genus:     Anarhichas
Species:     A. lupus

Atlantic wolffish has long, subcylindrical in front, compressed in the caudal portion, smooth and slippery, the rudimentary scales embedded and almost hidden in the skin. Atlantic wolffish vary in color, usually seen as a purplish-brown, a dull olive green or bluish gray. The catfish lacks pelvic fins, and the dorsal fin, which begins just behind the head, extends to the caudal fin, but is not linked. The anal fin extends about half the length of the ventral surface. Atlantic wolffish have powerful jaws and a large number of wide-tooth used to the shells of mollusks and crustaceans crush. They also have sharp canines.

The Atlantic wolffish are primarily stationary fish, rarely moving from their rocky home. They are benthic dwellers, living on the ocean floor hard, often seen in corners and small caves. The sides of the gray-brown to purple body crossed by as many as a dozen vertical black bars. It is sedentary and rather lonely and is often found at depths of 45 to 65 fathoms. Populations are usually localized. Although the seems slow, it's bitter, it can quickly move short distances, and gives serious bites. Individuals can reach a length of 5 meters and weighs 40 pounds. They hunt for mollusks, crabs, lobsters and sea urchins. They do not eat other fish. 

The Atlantic wolffish is rarely caught by anglers and is usually taken by commercial otter. It has been overexploited and depleted in the western Atlantic Ocean. In the North Atlantic, similar sequences are spotted wolffish (A. minor) and the Northern wolffish (A. denticulatis). In the North Pacific, the very similar Bering wolffish (A. orientalis) comes from the Aleutian Islands in Alaska south to central California. The wolf-eel (Anarrichthys ocellatus) has a similar range, but reaches a length of 61 / 2 feet. These species are also caught by trawlers ommercial.

The way of the Atlantic wolffish fertilize their eggs distinguishes them from many fish. Instead of the female depositing her eggs in the open ocean and for males to fertilize and then continued on his way, they are internally fertilized and the male catfish remain in the nest and protects the eggs as long as four months, until the breeding is strong enough to gain independence. Their eggs are 5.5 to 6 mm in diameter (one of the largest known fish eggs), yellow-tinted and opaque. The eggs are laid on the ocean floor, many times in shallow water, stick together in loose groups, surrounded by rocks and seaweed. Atlantic wolffish mature relatively late, at the age of six.

In the north they are valued as food, both fresh and preserved. They are sold in Britain as "Scotch Halibut" and "Scarborough Woof" or simply "Woof" in other areas of the north-east coast, and are a popular ingredient in fish and chips. The oil extracted from the liver is said to be equal in quality to the best liver. According to scientific data, the Atlantic wolffish populations drastically declined due to overfishing and bycatch. Bottom trawling vessels also disrupt the Atlantic wolffish the rocky underwater habitat when dragging large nets along the seabed, with heavy weights to the nets on the ocean floor. The nets are randomly what they catch and the heavy weights and nets are harmful to the benthic terrain and its inhabitants. The sport has also threatened the survival of the Atlantic wolffish.

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