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Southern Cod-Icefishes: Notothenioidei

Physical Characteristics, Behavior And Reproduction, Emerald Notothen (trematomus Bernacchii): Species AccountGEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, DIET, SOUTHERN COD-ICEFISHES AND PEOPLE, CONSERVATION STATUS


All but one species of southern cod-icefishes live just north of Antarctica. One species lives in Antarctica.

Southern cod-icefishes live in streams and estuaries (EHS-chew-air-eez), the areas where rivers meet the sea. Most live on or near the bottom, but some live in open water.

Some southern cod-icefishes eat anything that comes their way. Others ambush small crustaceans and mollusks. Crustaceans (krus-TAY-shuns) are water-dwelling animals that have jointed legs and a hard shell but no backbone. Mollusks (MAH-lusks) are animals with a soft, unsegmented body that may or may not have a shell.

Some southern cod-icefishes have been harvested for fish meal and oil but are most important as food fish.


Many southern cod-icefishes live in seawater that is near its freezing point of about 28.6°F (–1.89°C). They protect themselves by making antifreeze in their bodies.

Southern cod-icefishes are not threatened or endangered.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceFish and Other Cold-Blooded Vertebrates