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Hakes Grenadiers Cods and Relatives: Gadiformes

Haddock (melanogrammus Aeglefinus): Species Accounts

Physical characteristics: Haddock have three separate dorsal fins and two separate anal fins. They also have a small chin barbel. The pelvic fins sometimes have one long ray. The lateral (LAT-uhr-uhl) line is dark. The lateral line is a series of pores and tiny tubes along each side of a fish's body and is used for sensing vibrations. Haddock have a large dark blotch over the pectoral fin on each side. The pectoral (PECK-ter-uhl) fins are the front pair and correspond to the front legs of four-footed animals.

Geographic range: Haddock live in the northern part of the Atlantic Ocean from off the coast of Virginia to the Barents Sea, which is north of Norway and Russia.

Habitat: Haddock live near the bottom of cool water 148–443 feet (45–135 meters) deep. They prefer bottoms of rock, sand, gravel, or broken shells. Haddock shift habitat depending on their life stage. The young live in shallower water in bank and shoal areas. Larger adults live in deeper water.

Diet: Haddock eat crabs, sea urchins, worms, and clams. They rarely eat other fish.

Haddock eat crabs, sea urchins, worms, and clams. They rarely eat other fish. (Illustration by Emily Damstra. Reproduced by permission.)

Behavior and reproduction: Adult haddock do not undertake long travels to reproduce. Spawning occurs between January and June, peaking in late March and early April. Depending on size, females produce 850,000 to three million eggs each year.

Haddock and people: Haddock is an extremely important food fish.

Conservation status: The IUCN lists haddock as Vulnerable or facing a high risk of extinction in the wild. ∎



Gilbert, Carter Rowell, and James D. Williams. National Audubon Society Field Guide to Fishes: North America. New York: Knopf, 2002.

Kurlansky, M. Cod: A Biography of the Fish That Changed the World. New York: Walker, 1997.

Schultz, Ken. Ken Schultz's Field Guide to Saltwater Fish. New York: Wiley, 2004.

Web sites:

"Atlantic Cod." Fisheries and Oceans Canada. http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/zone/underwater_sous-marin/atlantic/acod_e.htm (accessed on October 7, 2004).

"Cod War." All Science Fair Projects. http://www.all-science-fair-projects.com/science_fair_projects_encyclopedia/Cod_War (accessed on October 7, 2004).

"Empty Oceans, Empty Nets." PBS. http://www.pbs.org/emptyoceans/cod (accessed on October 7, 2004).

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceFish and Other Cold-Blooded VertebratesHakes Grenadiers Cods and Relatives: Gadiformes - Physical Characteristics, Habitat, Behavior And Reproduction, Grenadiers, Hakes, Cods, Their Relatives, And People - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, DIET, CONSERVATION STATUS