fish is technically not a catfish even although it
does goes under the common name of "Sea Catfishes"
with two other species, A. denticulatus and
A. minor. It is in fact related to the blennies
and not to the true catfishes (no barbels and has
scales) The name Sea Catfish gave me a good excuse
to include this "only its mother would love it"
character and its other more popular name of the Wolf
Fish gives its true character away as a bit of an
"ugly duckling" but we catfish folk can
put up with our charges not being too facially challenged.
friend of mine who lives on the East coast of Scotland
likes to reiterate the story of a local fisherman
who waded out knee deep to pull his rowing boat up
to the shore and ended up with a nasty gash in his
foot and a never to be worn wading boot again.
As you might be
aware by now this is not a tropical (cat)fish but
a marine fish that is confined to the temperate and
boreel waters of the northern hemisphere. There are
in fact three species that occur in northern European
seas, A.lupus, A.minor and A.denticulatus.
A.lupus has a long dorsal and anal fin with a
very small truncate caudal.
This genus does
not posses ventral fins and has huge dog-like teeth
in the front of the jaws and rounded crushing teeth
in the sides and palate. These teeth are used to break
It lives close
to the sea-bed in moderately deep water with a depth
range of 1 - 500m., and on occasion are caught by
sport fishermen. Its flesh seemingly is well flavoured
and firm and its skin can be prepared as leather.
in the seas of Iceland and the Faroes. Norway,
in the seas of Norway.
United Kingdom, around the British Isles.
Cold and very cold!
7.0 and above.
very large , lobe-like. Gill membranes united to isthmus.
Only spinous dorsal fin present. No pelvic fins, pelvic
girdle vestigial. Small or pointed caudal fin. Jaws
bearing strong conical canine teeth at the front;
large molariform teeth at the sides.
Ground colour usually greyish-green
but almost black or reddish -brown. Body with 10-15
transverse, dark bars extended to the dorsal fin.
Care & Compatibility
An aquarium fish, I don't
think so!, unless some native marine keepers know
better, as it can grow to a quite considerable size
(see size). The specimen in the photograph was pictured
in a public aquarium in the Sea-Life Centre in Oban,
Spawns in the
winter with the eggs being deposited as a ball-like
clump on the sea-bed. The larvae stay at the bottom
until their yolk-sac is used up. They are then found
to swim in the mid to surface layers of the ocean
until late autumn when they retire back to the sea-bed.
There has been a reported spawing in captivity in
a Public Aquarium. Macduff
Marine Aquarium in
Aberdeenshire, Scotland reported that the parents
laid a clutch of pink eggs in the early part of 2009
and the babies are being raised in a seperate aquarium.
It is said that
the females underside is a dirty white colour whereas
the males have a flecked pattern.
Adults and juveniles feed on
crabs, sea urchins, mussels, whelks and scallops.
anarrhichesis from the Greek, to climb, the action
Key to the Fishes of Northern Europe 1978.