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800px-Haddock, Boston Aquarium

Courtesy of Wikipedia

The Haddock (Melanogrammus aeglefinus) is a Cod like fish in the Cod Family.

IdentificationEdit

Classic codfish profile with 3 dorsal and 2 anal fins. The anterior ray of the first dorsal fin is long, giving the fin a high and pointed profile, whilst the other dorsal and anal fins are rounded. The small pelvic fins, with their extended first rays, are positioned on the throat, and closer to the snout, than the pectoral fins. The tail fin is concaved. The head is reduced and has large eyes. The lower jaw has a small chin barbel, and is shorter than the upper jaw. The angle of the jaw occurs before the eye. The back tends to exhibit a dark greenish brown colouration, that pales at the sides, and towards the white of the belly. The lateral line is dark to black, and a characteristic blackened thumb mark occurs above and behind the pectoral fin base, and straddles the lateral line.

BreedingEdit

Spawns between February to June (peak between March to April). Tends to favour deeper water than cod, and thus the main spawning grounds around the UK, include those to be found east of The Shetland Isles, north of the Outer Hebrides, and around the Faroes.Migration to the spawning grounds in Winter, is then followed by the fish returning to shallow waters to form feeding shoals. The eggs take 14 to 20 days to hatch, and the young Haddock remain in the surface to mid-waters, until they reach about 5cm in length. They then move towards the bottom, to start their demersal existence. Most Haddock reach maturity during their third year. Growth rates vary depending upon location (south faster than north), with 30 to 45cm in total length for a 4 to 5 year old being about average.

HabitatEdit

Found close to the sea floor, often in schools, usually at depths of between 40 to 300m

FoodEdit

Young pelagic fish feed mainly on copepods, whilst the larger demersal fish feed on a variety of crustacea, molluscs, annelids and echinoderms, with the occasional small fish such as sandeels.

RangeEdit

Found throughout the waters of the UK, but tending towards the Northern extent, especially the North Sea.

Additional NotesEdit

Commercially important fish, who's stocks have been hit by overfishing. Good eating.

ReferencesEdit

The Aquarium Project

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