Wolf fish is any of five large, long-bodied fish species in the family Anarhichadidae (order Perciformes) that live in the waters of the northern Atlantic and Pacific. The longest species can grow to about 2.3 meters long (7.5 feet). Wolffish have a big head, a long body that tapers, and a single long dorsal fin on top. Their powerful teeth are made up of large canines and heavy molars that can handle crabs, starfish, sea urchins, and other prey.
Bear in mind that wolffish America and wolffish amazon are quite famous. Wolf fish live in water from the shore to at least 300 meters deep. They have name catfishes in Europe, and Europeans and Americans eat them. Some of the species have vertical bands, such as in Atlantic wolffish (Anarhichas lupus). It lives in the North Atlantic, the spotted wolffish (A. minor), also from the North Atlantic, and the black-spotted wolf-eel (Anarhichthys ocellatus), which lives in the eastern Pacific.
The scientific name for the wolffish family of species is Anarhichadidae. This seems to come from a Greek word that means “to climb up.” They belong to the order of Perciformes and are most similar to eelpouts, gunnels, and quillfish. This is actually one of the groups of animals with the most different kinds. It has more than 10,000 species, which is about 40% of all bony fish.
How Many Wolf Fish Species Are There?
There are five known species of these fish, which belong to two different genera. Four of these species are in the Anarhichas genus, and the wolf eel is the only species in the genus Anarrhichthys. Here is a list of the five kinds of wolffish. The most important difference between them is how they look and where they are.
Northern Wolf fish is native to the North Atlantic and Arctic Oceans. It is also called the bull-headed catfish, the Arctic wolffish, and many other names.
Bering Wolf fish: This species lives around the Pacific coasts of Russia and Alaska, as the name suggests.
Atlantic Wolf fish: This species lives in an area between Greenland, Iceland, the North Sea area, Labrador, Massachusetts, and the coasts of Norway and Russia. It has a blue-gray body, a big dorsal fin, and a light underside. It also lives in southern places like France and Spain. Anarhichas lupus is the scientific name for this species (lupus means wolf in Latin).
Spotted Wolf fish: This species lives on both sides of the North Atlantic Ocean between Russia and Canada. It has another name, leopard fish. The color varies between olive green and brown and has dark spots.
Wolf Eel: This species looks like an eel because of its long body, but it is actually a pure wolffish. It is present in the North Pacific.
How Does A Wolf Fish Look Like?
At first glance, these fish look pretty ugly, grizzled, and almost demonic, but their looks can be deceiving. Nothing about the wolffish makes it more aggressive than any other carnivore, regardless of how pretty it looks. The wolffish has a very long body (up to 7.5 feet), a big head, a long, thin tail, strong jaws, and many rows of teeth, some of which stick out of the mouth even when the mouth closes.
Blue, grey, brown, and olive green are the most common colors, and sometimes there are stripes on the side of the body. It has small, simple scales that are almost hidden by the skin. Most species have a long dorsal fin that runs the length of the back and another fin that covers most of the stomach and pelvic areas. The wolffish moves very slowly through the water by moving its whole body back and forth like an eel.
Wolf Fish Habitat And Population
The Atlantic wolf fish lives between 1,000 and 2,000 feet deep in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. During most of the day, the wolffish waits patiently in cracks or caves to catch its prey by surprise when it comes by. The wolffish doesn’t move around much on purpose because it isn’t very fast and wants to kill its prey as quickly as possible.
Several kinds of wolffish are in danger because of people. It is rarely eaten so large that overfishing is a problem, but in some parts of the Atlantic, habitat destruction and accidental catches have caused the population to drop a lot.
Some ways of trawling are so careless that they cause both problems at the same time. As the people pull the nets across the bottom of the ocean, it destroys habitats and catches everything in its path, including huge numbers of wolffish eggs, which could wipe out an entire generation of the species. One scientist said that between 1984 and 1990, trawling changed every square inch of the seafloor in New England.
Even when it doesn’t hurt the wolffish directly, trawling catches other animals, which means there are fewer animals for the wolffish to eat. Some wolffish could go extinct if there aren’t enough efforts to protect them and keep their numbers in check.
Wolf Fish Predators
The Atlantic wolf fish is a bottom-feeding fish that waits for food to come to it. This animal has sharp teeth that help it break through the tough shells of crabs, clams, sea urchins, starfish, and other prey with hard shells. It is important to the ecosystem because it keeps these creatures from making too many babies too quickly.
Due to its size and aggressiveness, the wolffish has few regular predators other than sharks and humans. Wolffish bite is not something you will look after. Even then, it is not the wolffish’s first choice of food because it can bite humans or any other animal hard to protect. Other than that, though, it’s not very hostile.
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Wolf Fish Reproduction
This fish has an unusual way of having babies. During the spawning season, which is most intense in September and October, it bonds with a partner and sometimes stays with that partner for life. In many fish species, the females release unfertilized eggs into the water. But in the wolffish, the eggs fertilize inside the fish. The female then lays a huge number of eggs between seaweed or in cracks.
The eggs take between three and nine months to fully hatch. Both parents are very important in raising the young, but the father’s main job is to keep the larvae safe in the nest for the next few months until they can fly away on their own. The young fry doesn’t reach sexual maturity until they are five or even older. The average life span of a wolffish is more than 12 years.
The nets that people use for bottom trawling put these fish and their habitats in danger. These nets hurt their eggs, adults, and parts of their habitat.
Some people say that the Atlantic wolfish tastes sweet, like lobster. Most of the time, people bake, grill, or broil it. They have few calories but a lot of protein and fat. Every year, people catch between 10 and 15 tonnes. Also, about one thousand tonnes of spotted wolffish are caught every year.
Facts About Wolffish
1. Their Eggs Are Very Large
The eggs of most fish are small. Atlantic wolffish eggs are among the biggest of all fish eggs. They are 5.5 to 6 millimeters (about 0.2 inches) long.
2. The Maturity Time Is 6 Years
Young Atlantic wolffish grow and change slowly, and most don’t become sexually mature until they are about six years old.
3. They Face Threats Due To Overfishing
Humans are one of the main things that eat Atlantic wolffish. Even though some people eat these fish, most people catch them by accident. Overfishing (catching too many fish faster than their population can grow back) and bycatch (catching a fish by accident while trying to catch others) has drastically cut the number of Atlantic wolffish.
4. The Wolffish Of The Atlantic Ocean Are So Named Because of Their Massive Canine Fangs.
Both the top and bottom jaws have cone-shaped teeth that look like fangs. They look like wolves or other dangerous predators because their teeth stick out.
5. There Are A Plethora Of Names For Them.
Seawolves, ocean catfish, devil fish, sea cats, and woofs are all names for Atlantic wolffish. The wolffish, Anarrhichthys ocellatus, which lives in the Pacific Ocean, is also called the wolf eel.
6. There Is A Wide Range Of Colours Seen In Atlantic Wolffish.
Their skin can be blue-grey, green, or even purple.
7. The Atlantic Wolffish Is Mostly Sedentary.
This type of fish can’t swim well because it doesn’t have the pectoral fins that other fish have. Once an Atlantic wolffish finds a good place to live in a cave or crack, it doesn’t move around much.
8. They Live On Seafloors.
Unlike most fish, which swim up and down in the water column, these ones like to live on the rocky ocean floor. This gives them a lot of chances to catch the animals they eat.
9. Cold Waters Are Home To Atlantic Wolffish.
During the winter, the water temperature can drop by a lot, but that doesn’t bother Atlantic wolffish. They live in water as cold as 0° Celsius (32° Fahrenheit), and they may be able to handle even colder temperatures.
10. Their Blood Is Antifreeze
Atlantic wolffish’s proteins help them stay alive in very cold temperatures without hurting their bodies.
11. They Can Tolerate Varying Salinities
Not many fish can stay alive when the salinity, or the amount of salt in the water, changes. The Atlantic wolffish can swim between areas with more and less salt without getting hurt. Their bodies get rid of salt ions in high-salinity areas and take them in low-salinity areas.
12. Each Member Of This Group Possesses A Unique Set Of Teeth.
Atlantic wolffish have canine teeth in the front of their mouths and flat teeth in the back of their mouths. Their throats have a row of sharp teeth with serrated edges that help them eat hard shells.
13. Wolf fish Don’t Eat Other Fish.
People might think that Atlantic wolffish eat other fish, but this is usually not the case. Most of what they eat are animals with hard shells, like crabs, sea urchins, mussels, and whelks.
14. They Like Different Depths
Both shallow and deep water have Atlantic wolffish living on the ocean floor. Some have been found as deep as 500 meters below the surface (more than 1600 feet).
15. They Reproduce Through Internal Fertilization
The female of most fish species lays eggs, and the male fertilizes them. The female Atlantic wolffish is different from most fish because she keeps the eggs inside her body while the male fertilizes them. She then puts the fertilized eggs in groups on the rocky ocean floor.
16. Females Court The Males
The way the Atlantic wolffish mates is another unusual thing it does. When they find a male they like, females will “court” him by swimming around him and rubbing against him. When an Atlantic wolffish finds a mate, it rarely breeds with someone else.
17. Both Raise The Young Ones
When the female Atlantic wolffish lays her eggs, the male watches over the nest. They stay like this for more than 4 months, taking care of the eggs and spawning until they are strong enough to live on their own.
Wolf Fish FAQs
Is Wolffish Good To Eat?
You can eat wolffish, but this species is not kosher because it doesn’t have scales. Cooking Tips: Wolffish is not as firm as monkfish or as soft as sole, but it holds together well and can be cooked in many different ways. It tastes great with a sauce with a crust of herbed mustard.
Is Wolf Fish Poisonous?
The weever fish’s poisonous caudal fin hurts when it stings, and the poison might have long-lasting effects.
What Kind Of Fish Is A Wolfish?
The wolffish is a type of fish with ray-like fins called an Actinopterygii. It gets its name from the shape of its dorsal and ventral fins. Tuna, swordfish, salmon, and cod are also well-known ray-finned fish. But the wolffish has changed so much over time that it now looks more like eel-like fish like eelpouts and gunnels.
Is A Wolffish A Catfish?
Atlantic wolffish (Anarhichas lupus), or the seawolf, Atlantic catfish, or ocean catfish, are most common at depths of 80 to 100 meters in the Gulf of Maine and Georges Bank, but they are present as shallow as 40 meters.
Is Wolf fish An Eel?
Wolf eels are not true eels. They are fish, though. Wolf eels are similar to eels in that they have long bodies that look like snakes. They also have scales, pectoral fins, and a pair of gill slits. Wolf eels are in the family of wolffish, which is called Anarhichadidae.
Can You Eat Wolffish?
Yes, the wolffish is perfectly fine to eat, and its meat is sold in many places. But maybe because it is not as common as other types of fish, this food is not as popular as many others.
What Kind Of Fish Is Wolffish?
The Atlantic wolffish (Anarhichas lupus), also called the seawolf, Atlantic catfish, ocean catfish, devil fish, wolf eel, woof, or sea cat, is a marine fish that lives in the North Atlantic Ocean. It is a member of the wolffish family, Anarhichadidae.
What Is A Wolffish?
A wolffish is a big fish that lives near the ocean floor in rocks and cracks in rocks. They are carnivores that eat shelled sea creatures like crabs, sea urchins, snails, and other sea creatures. Moreover, they have strong jaws that allow them to bite into their prey and crush and grind it up. They are very big fish that can be up to 5 feet long and 40 pounds.
Why Are Wolffish Endangered?
Since the 1970s, the number of wolffish has dropped by more than 90%. People catch them accidentally when people are fishing for other things, & commercial fishing gear destroys their habitat by moving the boulders & rocks they live, spawn, and nest under.
What Does A Wolffish Look Like?
Wolffish have big heads with sharp teeth that stick out of their mouths. It has a thin body with a dorsal fin that runs the length of its back & a smaller fin on its underside.
What Do Wolf Fish Eat?
The large head, strong jaws, and large canine teeth of the Atlantic wolffish help it hunt and eat hard-bodied or spiny invertebrates like sea urchins, crabs, large marine snails, and so on. They can grow up to 5 feet long (1.5 m).
Are Wolffish Aggressive?
No. These fish like to hide in the cracks of rocks. Usually, if one bites a person, it’s because it feels threatened. For instance, if a scuba diver puts their hand under a rock, a wolffish that is hiding there may bite their hand. The fish thinks it is being hurt, so it fights back. In the animal world, this is how things usually work.
Is A Wolf Fish Real?
Atlantic wolffish can grow up to six feet long and can be any color from slate blue to olive green to purple-brown. They can live up to 20 years. With their sharp teeth and hard palates, woolish can crush whole clams, scallops, lobsters, sea urchins, and green crabs.
Are Wolf Fish Blennies?
People often call the Wolf Eel a Blenny. It is, however, a pseudochromid (Dottyback).
How Big Do Wolf Fish Grow?
Wolffish is any of five large, long-bodied fish species in the family Anarhichadidae (order Perciformes) that live in the waters of the northern Atlantic and Pacific. The longest species can grow to about 2.3 meters long (7.5 feet). Wolffish have a big head, a long body that tapers, and a single long dorsal fin on top.
Why Are Wolffish Called Wolffish?
Wolffish can get as big as 30 or 40 pounds, but the average market size is 10 pounds. The wolffish gets its name from its sharp, protruding teeth, which it uses to eat shellfish like lobsters, clams, and mussels.
What Kind Of Fish Is Wolffish?
The Atlantic wolffish (Anarhichas lupus), or the seawolf, Atlantic catfish, ocean catfish, devil fish, wolf eel, woof, or sea cat, is a marine fish that lives in the North Atlantic Ocean. It is a member of the wolffish family, Anarhichadidae.
Parvaiz Yousuf is a senior SEO writer and editor with an experience of over 6 years, who also doubles up as a researcher. With an MSc zoology degree under his belt and possessing complete Search Engine Optimization (SEO) knowledge, he works as a science journalist for a US-based website and Asian Scientist (A Singapore-based magazine). He also works as Director of Wetland Research Centre, Wildlife Conservation Fund YPJK since 2018. Besides, he has several publications to his name on cancer biology and biochemistry in some reputed journals such as Nature & International Journal of Molecular Sciences, & magazines such as Science Reporter, BUCEROS BNHS, and has an abiding interest in ornithology. He also worked as a Research Associate for JK Policy Institute.