Merlangius merlangus

Author: (Linnaeus, 1758)

Merlangius merlangus (Linnaeus, 1758)

Status in World Register of Marine Species:
Accepted name: Merlangius merlangus (Linnaeus, 1758) (updated 2009-06-25)

Diagnosis: first dorsal finrays 12-15, second dorsal finrays 18-25, third dorsal finrays 19-22; first anal finrays 30-35, second anal finrays 21-23. Vertebrae 53-57. Gillrakers 19-26. (In M. merlangus euxinus: first dorsal finrays 14-17, second dorsal finrays 16-19, third dorsal finrays 18-22; first anal finrays 28-32, second anal finrays 19-22. Vertebrae 51-54. Gillrakers 20-23.) Colour: variable, yellowish-brown, dark blue or green, sides yellowish-grey, white and silvery on belly. Size: to 70 cm SL, usually 30-40 cm; smaller in Black Sea, to 58 cm, usually 15-20 cm.

Habitat: shallow water, rarely below 200 m, usually 30-100 m, over sandy or muddy ground, young live closer to the shore, 5-30 m. Behaviour: above the bottom and often near surface. Food: crustaceans and fishes, proportion of fishes increasing with age. Reproduction: from January in the south to July in the north, throughout range.

Distribution: European coasts from Iceland and south-western Barents Sea to northern coasts of Portugal, western Baltic to Gotland Island, doubtful in western Mediterranean (M. merlangus merlangus), Black Sea, adjacent parts of Azov Sea, Sea of Marmora, Aegean Sea and Adriatic (M. merlangus euxinus).

Eggs, larvae and young stages. No data.
Otoliths (sagitta). No data.


Merlangius merlangus merlangus: no barbel on chin. Pectoral fin 13.8-15.6% of body length.
Eggs, larvae and young stages. Schmidt, 1905: 37, pl. II (fig. 1-9); 1906: 6, pl. I (fig. 24) | Ehrenbaum, 1909: 231, fig. 86 | d'Ancona, 1933: 191, fig. 179-182.
Otoliths (sagitta). Fryd, 1901: 26 | Scott, 1906: 61, pl. II (fig. 6 8, 30 31) | Shepherd, 1915: 26, pl. VI (fig. 8) | Frost, 1926: 486, pl. XXII (fig. 11) | Sanz Echeverría, 1935: 255, pl. XXIX (fig. 17).

Merlangius merlangus euxinus (Nordmann): barbel on chin conspicuous. Pectoral fin 15.4-18.2% of body length.
Eggs, larvae and young stages. Vodianitsky and Kazanova, 1954: 294, fig. 43.
Otoliths (sagitta). No data.