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Kidadl Team

SEPTEMBER 02, 2021

17 Fin-tastic Facts About The Whiting For Kids

Informative whiting facts for kids.

Merlangius merlangus is generally known by the common name whiting.  The whiting distribution ranges from the Northern Atlantic ocean, which extends to the Ireland coast, Northern coast of Norway, and the coast of Spain. Plus, it prefers mud substrates with sand or rocky bottoms. There are three stocks of whiting- a central-south Puget Sound stock, a migratory coastal stock, and a Strait of Georgia stock. The migratory coastal stock is large and healthy than the other two. It is the most bountiful commercial whiting stock on the pacific coast. This fish is a natural sea creature that has not existed due to hybrid.

Whiting is a long fish with three dorsal fins and two other fins. It occurs in various colors with a silvery belly. It feeds on smaller aquatic animals, such as squids, crabs, fish eggs, shrimp, and herring. Previously, it was regarded as a cheap fish. Humans used this species as food for poor people or pet food. Whiting is a migratory fish that move away from the warmer waters during the summer. They have been consumed as a delicacy across the world. The meat of this fish contains many benefits, essential for our body.

If you are interested in fish species, you may also want to check out these milkfish facts and round goby facts.

Whiting Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a whiting?

Whiting, also known as merling, is a ray-finned fish species of cod family Gadidae.

What class of animal does a whiting belong to?

Whiting fish belongs to the class Actinopterygii of phylum Chordata.

How many whitings are there in the world?

The population size of the whitings has not been estimated yet.

Where does a whiting live?

The whiting range includes North Atlantic Ocean and the northern Mediterranean Sea. The range also includes the Adriatic Sea, the Aegean Sea, the Baltic sea, the Black Sea, the North Sea, southeastern Barents Sea, Portugal, Iceland, and Scandinavia.

What is a whiting's habitat?

The whiting habitat includes mud, gave, rock, and sand sea beds. This fish prefers the depth of 330 ft (100.5 m) in the ocean. However, it can also be seen at a depth of 30-700 ft (9.1-213.3 m) beneath the surface.

Who do whitings live with?

Whether whitings live alone, in pairs, or groups is unknown. However, it is known that this fish species is seen in brackish water, usually in close alliance with jellyfish, a marine creature. Spawning is also done in groups.

How long does a whiting live?

The whiting life expectancy is nearly 10 years.

How do they reproduce?

There is only a little information available regarding the reproduction of whiting fish (Merlangius merlangus). They are oviparous animals, meaning the eggs are fertilized outside the body. These fish mainly spawned in great numbers between January and March in south-central California and were originally believed to travel seasonally. In the early spring season, they migrate near the coast and to the north to eat along the coastal shelf and slope from northern California to Vancouver Island. Other breeding regions include the British Islands, the Bay of Biscay, the Mediterranean, and the Black Sea. However, in summer, they form large groups, known as schools, along with offshore shelf breaks.

In summer, these fish migrate to areas with warm waters. Mature whiting fish travel farther than the younger fish. Merlangius merlangus spawn in batches. Females release the eggs in water, where males fertilize with their sperms. Then they move to lay and fertilize another batch. The clutch size varies according to age and maturity. For instance, smaller fish normally lay around 200,000 eggs, whereas  bigger fish can produce up to 1,000,000 eggs in one spawning season in an open ocean. The eggs of whiting species are pelagic. After fertilization and hatching, the eggs and larvae travel freely in the water column. The eggs of this bird can take five to six days to hatch. Both larvae and immature are linked with jellyfish. The young fish migrate from their nursery areas to the open waters only after spending their first year at their native place. Female fish develop faster than males and can reproduce when they attain maturity at two to four years. The length of females at these ages is between 13-16 years. However, males attain maturity by three years of age with a length of nearly 11 in (27 cm) long. In both adults, the tiny chin barbel feature of juveniles disappears. The sex ratio ranges are approximately 32% males and 67% females in the North Sea and nearly 38% males and 61% females in the Irish Sea. The whiting fish have a lifespan of up to 10 years.

What is their conservation status?

Whiting fish species are one of the most important commercial fish in many countries. Humans use them as a food source and sell these marine animals frozen, fresh, smoked, boiled, and salted. Although overfishing threatens populations of these fish in some regions, it does not threatens the entire species. According to IUCN (International Union of Conservation for Nature), the species is of Least Concern. The 2020 stock assessment states that the offshore stock of Pacific whiting is not overexploited and is not subject to overexploitation depend on 2018 catch data. However, the Puget Sound and Strait of Georgia stocks consider whiting as species of concern.

Whiting Fun Facts

What do whitings look like?

Whiting fish species have an elongated, torpedo-shaped body with three dorsal fins on their backs that consist of 30-40 soft rays. The primary dorsal fin is the largest. They also have two anal fins with 30-35 soft rays. The head is small. They may possess a chin barbel which is also diminutive. The maximum length of these fishes is around 27.5 in (70 cm). The iridescent scales on the body consist of many different colors, such as yellow-brown, green or dark blue. Flanks are mostly yellow-gray or white. This fin of whiting is usually placed at the base of the anal fin. Anterior fins in these fish are long and anal fins lie close to each other at a one-half or more preanal distance. It has a silvery belly. The upper jaw is slightly projected. The lateral line runs through the entire body length. It canals on the head with pores.

Whiting fish species have a silvery-gray coloration on their body with smooth skin.

How cute are they?

Whiting or Marlangius merlangus fish are averagely cute animals. People keep them as pets in aquariums because of their shiny and beautiful colored skin. However, the majority of these whiting fishes are used as food by humans.

How do they communicate?

The information regarding the communication between whiting fishes is unknown. However, like other ray-finned fish, they may communicate through five major methods: chemoreception, electroreception, mechanoreception, vision, and magnetic reception. Vision is the crucial means of communication in these fishes. Their eyes have similar features, just like land vertebrates. Therefore, they can identify a wide range of wavelengths. Mechanoreception involves hearing, tactile sensation, equilibrium, and balance. On the other hand, the chemoreception includes taste (gestation) and smell (olfaction), but the latter is more sensitive and chemical-specific than the former.  They use chemical cues to forage. The whiting fishes secrete chemicals known as pheromones. These help them to recognize their own species members, partners, offsprings, and predators.

How big is a whiting?

The whiting size is 27.5 in (70 cm), which is 10 times larger than a seahorse.

How fast can a whiting swim?

The speed of whiting fish is unknown.

How much does a whiting weigh?

The weight of a whiting fish is around 3.8 lb (1.7 kg).

What are the male and female names of the species?

The whiting male and female fish have no specific names, separately.

What would you call a baby whiting?

The baby whiting is generally called a young.

What do they eat?

The amount and type of food are based on their age. Juveniles eat the smaller prey, such as planktons, krill, fish eggs, and other tiny vertebrates. When they develop, they start hunting bigger and larger bottom-dwelling creatures. Mature individuals feed on shrimp, crabs, squid, octopus, and other bigger invertebrates.

Are they poisonous?

No, whiting fishes are non-poisonous creatures. They do not possess glands that produce poison. That is why it is one of the favorite fish species among humans.

Would they make a good pet?

They have shiny skin; therefore, people will love to keep them in aquariums. Their diet is also simple, but they will need some special arrangements such as saltwater with an adequate salinity, temperature, pH, and light.

Did you know...

Like other related members of the family Gadidae such as cod, haddock, and pollock, whiting fishes are plagued by parasites, such as cod worm (Lernaecera branchialis). It is a copepod crustacean that holds on to the gills of fish. After some time, the copepod metamorphosis into a wormlike body, with a coiled mass of eggs hangs at the back.

Whiting refers to a black and silver fish that resides in the ocean.

How is whiting different from other fish of Gadidae family?

The main difference between the whiting and other members of the Gadidae family is the dark spots on each pectoral fin the whiting fish have acquired.

Is whiting good to eat?

Yes, its taste is spectacular. In addition, eating whiting as food is associated with many health benefits, including the formation of DNA, a decline of fatigue, increase bone health, and lowers cholesterol.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these clown rasbora facts and pigfish facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our Whiting coloring pages.

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