Spotted wolffish, Anarhichas minor.
Spotted Wolffish, Anarhichas minor

This wolffish has the spots of a leopard! Its yellow-brown body is covered with dark brown spots on the head, back, upper sides, and the dorsal fin. Like other wolffishes, its dorsal fin extends from the head to the tail, and the anal fin is long as well. Its colouration, as well as the positioning of teeth on the roof of its mouth, distinguishes this wolffish from other species. It grows quite large, reaching a length of 180 cm and a weight of 23.4 kg! The record for longevity is 21 years of age.

The spotted wolffish occurs in the North Atlantic and southern Arctic Ocean, including the Davis Strait and off Baffin Island. It is a bottom-dweller, that prefers cold waters, and is found down to 600 m in Atlantic Canada. However, arctic populations inhabit waters as shallow as 25 m. Females mature one year earlier than males in this species, but there are differences between populations. Females mature when they reach 48–62 cm, while in other populations adulthood is not reached until 75–80 cm. Females lay clumps of up to 50,000 eggs, each measuring about 6 mm in diameter, on the sea floor.

The most important food item in the spotted wolffish's diet is sea urchins, but molluscs, crustaceans, and even some algae, fish, and worms are consumed. The cod and Greenland shark number amongst this species' predators. The flesh of the spotted wolffish is palatable, and humans do eat them. Although they are not the direct target of fisheries, they are caught along with the Atlantic wolffish. Its skin is made into leather!