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The Hake (Merluccius merluccius) can grow to nearly 2m in length.

Identification Edit

Slender bodied with large head and jaws. The mouth has numerous sharp curved teeth. Barbels absent. Two dorsal fins, with the first being short based and triangular, and composed of some 8 to 19 rays. The second dorsal fin is mirrored by the anal fin below, and is long based, has 30 plus branched rays, and shows a notable depression approximately two thirds along. The pectoral fin extends back to the gap between the two dorsal fins. The caudal fin has a straight edged profile.

Colouration ranges from the slate blue to grey of the back and upper sides, through into the silver/white of the lower sides, and belly region. The lateral line is black, as is the inside of the mouth and gill cavity.

Breeding Edit

Spawns from April to Oct.off the west coast of Scotland, Ireland and the SW UK. Eggs and larvae are pelagic, but may drift into shallow inshore nursery areas. Males mature around 3-4years (29-50cm), whilst females mature at around 8 to 10 years (65-75cm)

Habitat Edit

This schooling fish is associated with deep water of 50 to 500m or more,of the lower continental shelf. Tends to be bottom dwelling during the day, but moves up the water column at night to feed in the surface to mid-water region. Tends to be found in shallower depths in general during the warm summer months.

Food Edit

Small hake feed on krill, whilst larger individuals feed on squid and fish (eg. Whiting, Norway Pout, small Hake (up to 20% of diet),Herring etc..), along with a variety of crustaceans.

Range Edit

May be found all around the waters of the UK, but mainly on the western and NW side of the UK, often close to the 200m contour.

Additional Notes Edit

Heavily overfished, and is now comparatively rare.

ReferencesEdit

The Aquarium Project

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