Sunday, November 7, 2010
November 7, 2010 : Lingcod
The lingcod, Ophiodon elongatus, is a fish of the greenling family Hexagrammidae. It is the only extant member of the genus Ophiodon. A slightly larger, extinct species, Ophiodon ozymandias, is known from fossils from the Late Miocene of Southern California.
It is native to the North American west coast from Shumagin Islands in the Gulf of Alaska to Baja California, Mexico. It has been observed up to a size of 152 cm and a weight of 59 kg. It is spotted in various shades of grey. The lingcod is a popular eating fish, and is thus prized by anglers. Though not closely related to either ling or cod, the name lingcod originated because it somewhat resembles those fish.
Lingcod are voracious predators, feeding on nearly anything they can fit in their mouths including invertebrates and many species of fish, such as herring, Clupea harengus, salmon and Pacific hake, Merluccius productus. One of their favorite foods are smaller octopus, and they will also readily devour large rockfish. Lingcod that survive the larval stages have few predators themselves, and are vulnerable mainly to marine mammals such as sea lions and harbor seals.