Saturday, May 29, 2010
May 29, 2010 : Seawolf
The Atlantic wolffish (Anarhichas lupus), also known as the Seawolf, Atlantic catfish, ocean catfish, wolf eel (the common name for its Pacific relative), or sea cat, is a marine fish, the largest of the wolffish family Anarhichadidae. The numbers of the Atlantic wolffish are rapidly depleting due to overfishing and by-catch, and is currently a Species of Concern according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). Although it is a fearsome looking creature, the Atlantic wolffish is only a threat when defending itself outside of the water. Apart from their unique appearance wolffish are also distinguished by the natural antifreeze they produce to keep their blood moving fluidly in their very cold habitat, involvement by both the male and female in brood bearing, and the large size of their eggs. They are also an important factor in controlling green crab and sea urchin populations, which can become overly disruptive to habitats if they are left unchecked. Wolffish population success is also an important indicator of the health of other bottom dweller populations, such as cod.