Fun Wolffish Facts For Kids

Divya Raghav
Oct 20, 2022 By Divya Raghav
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Isobel Murphy
One of the best wolffish facts is that the largest species of the wolffish population may grow to a length of 7.5 ft (2.3 m)!
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Age: 3-18
Read time: 7.2 Min

The wolffish, also known as the Atlantic wolffish, has the scientific name Anarhichas lupus and is a type of aquatic long-bodied fish belonging to the family Anarhichadidae and the order of mail-cheeked fishes. The wolffish belongs to one of five species of large long-body aquatic fishes.

They are most often spotted in the waters of the North Atlantic Ocean and Pacific waters.

Atlantic wolffish are purplish-brown, a dull olive green, or blueish gray in color. They have a long and large body with a powerful jaw, a large hard-shelled head, and large canine teeth which they make use of while hunting and eating hard-bodied (spiny body) invertebrates.

Atlantic wolffish are not particularly good-looking fish when it comes to their appearance. They prey on mollusks, crustaceans, sea urchins, crabs, large marine snails, and echinoderms.

A wolffish is 5 ft (1.5 m) long and weighs about 40 lb (18 kg). However, the largest species of the wolffish population may grow to a length of  7.5 ft (2.3 m)!

Wolffish reproduce by laying eggs. Wolffish are usually solitary fish but they do form pairs during their breeding season and, once mating is complete (using internal fertilization), the female lays eggs. Once the eggs have been laid, both partners guard the eggs until they hatch.

This fish is considered to be a species of concern in the United States.

The conservation status of Atlantic wolffish has been termed as Not Extinct. Wolffish are also exposed to threats from many aquatic predators like Greenland sharks, Atlantic cod, and haddock, so the wolffish is sadly under the threat of becoming extinct.

According to many ecologists, the Atlantic wolffish plays a major role in the food web in the North Atlantic ocean as it helps a lot in regulating the population of sea urchins and invertebrates, so losing this species will have a large impact.

Humans do eat wolffish and, since their skin is edible, humans can easily cook them and transform them into a delicious meal. The fish is said to have a sweet and satisfying taste.

Here on our page, we have lots of interesting facts on wolffish that everyone can enjoy. Let's have a look at these interesting facts and if you do like these, then do read our guide to the skate fish and fangtooth fish too.

Wolffish Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a wolffish?

An Atlantic wolffish is a type of aquatic long-bodied fish belonging to the Anarhichadidae family and the order of mail-cheeked fishes. Wolffish belong to one of five species of large long-body aquatic fish. They are mainly spotted in the waters of the North Atlantic Ocean and in Pacific waters.

What class of animal does a wolffish belong to?

The class of animal that an Atlantic wolffish belongs to is Actinopterygii. They are predominantly found in the North Atlantic Ocean.

How many wolffish are there in the world?

There are three species of wolffish, the Atlantic wolffish (Anarhichas lupus), spotted wolffish, and the northern or broadhead wolffish. Since the '70s the wolffish population has declined by 90% and wolffish are considered to be one of the first Canadian aquatic species to be at risk of extinction.

The Atlantic wolffish has been described as a species of special concern and spotted and northern wolffish are seen as threatened species. According to the IUCN, wolffish are classed as Not Extinct.

Where does a wolffish live?

Wolffish are found living at the bottom of the water in Canadian waters, the North Atlantic Ocean, the coast of Iceland, and the Arctic oceans. Wolffish are found living in the bottom of oceans at a depth of 49-498 ft (15 to 152 m).

What is a wolffish's habitat?

Atlantic wolffish are found living in the cold waters of the North Atlantic ocean they are also spotted in Canadian waters, and the Arctic oceans. This species of wolffishes are found living in the bottom of oceans at a depth of 49-498 ft (15 to 152 m).

Who do wolffish live with?

Atlantic wolffish (Anarhichas lupus) are usually found living alone but they can also be found living among many different species of fishes and even with the other species of large-bodied fishes belonging to the family Anarhichadidae.

There are three species of wolffish spotted in the northern parts of the Atlantic ocean, the Atlantic wolffish (Anarhichas lupus), spotted wolffish, and the northern or broadhead wolffish.

All three species can also live with other aquatic creatures like mollusks, crustaceans, sea urchins, crabs, large marine snails, and echinoderms, whom they usually prey upon with their strong canine teeth.

How long does a wolffish live?

The north Atlantic wolffish, with the scientific name Anarhichas lupus has a lifespan of 12 years.

How do they reproduce?

Wolffish reproduce by laying eggs. Wolffish are usually solitary animals but they do form pairs during the breeding season and once they have mated (using internal fertilization), a female lays her eggs. Once the eggs are laid both partners guard the eggs until they hatch.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of Atlantic wolffish is Not Extinct according to the IUCN. They have also been termed as species of special concern, and the spotted and northern wolffish have both been termed as threatened species. Wolffish are one of the first Canadian aquatic species to be at risk of extinction.

Wolffish Fun Facts

What do wolffish look like?

Atlantic wolffish are either purplish-brown, a dull olive green, or blueish gray in color. They have a long and large body with a powerful jaw, a large hard-shelled head, and large canine teeth which they make use of while hunting and eating hard-bodied invertebrates.

Wolffish also have a dorsal fin which is about half as high as their head.

Pelvic fins are absent in a wolffish, but they have large pectorals that are round in shape. The Atlantic wolffish is not a particularly good-looking fish when it comes to its appearance.

A wolffish's Norwegian name when translated means 'stone crusher' because of its canine teeth structure.

How cute are they?

Whether the Atlantic Wolffish are cute or not is ultimately subjective but it has to be said that these fish are not stereotypically cute animals, in fact, they are often described as ugly fish!

How do they communicate?

Wolffish communicate with the help of a series of vocal pitches and also by vibrating their swim bladder.

How big is a wolffish?

A wolfish is normally 5 ft (1.5 m) long and weighs about 40 lb (18 kg). However, the largest species of the wolffish population may grow to a length of 7.5 ft (2.3 m). They are nine times bigger than a rat!

How fast can a wolffish swim?

The exact speeds that a wolffish can swim at is not known, but they are neither a particularly fast nor slow aquatic species.

How much does a wolffish weigh?

A wolffish weighs about 40 lb (18 kg).

What are their male and female names of the species?

There are no specific names for male and female wolffish.

What would you call a baby wolffish?

A baby wolffish is called 'fry'.

What do they eat?

A wolffish is a carnivore with specially adapted canine teeth that help them to prey on hard-shelled invertebrates like mollusks, crustaceans, sea urchins, crabs, large marine snails, and echinoderms. It makes use of its canine teeth to grab its prey, including sea urchins, various mollusks, and crustaceans, and bite into them.

Do humans eat them?

Yes, humans do eat wolffish. Since their skin is edible humans can easily cook them and transform them into a delicious meal. A wolffish is said to taste sweet and satisfying and is relatively healthy to eat, providing us with plenty of vitamins and minerals. Have you ever tried one?

Would they make a good pet?

They are adapted to live their lives at the bottom of the oceans, so it is impossible to keep them as pets. Wolffish are found living at a depth of 49-498 ft (15-152 m), in conditions that are impossible for us to replicate. Therefore, wolffish do not make good pets and should not be kept as pets.

Did you know...

The scientific name of an Atlantic wolfish is Anarhichas lupus. More specifically, the Bering wolffish belongs to the family Anarhichadidae and is a type of marine fish.

Wolffish are not aggressive to humans and are unlikely to attack us. However, this doesn't mean we should keep them as pets as these fish truly do belong in the wild.

What animal eats wolffish?

Aside from us humans, who sometimes enjoy a delicious and nutritious wolffish meal, other animals that feed upon wolffish and giant wolffish include Greenland sharks, Atlantic cod, and haddock.

Why is the wolffish important?

Despite their less-than-desirable appearance, according to many ecologists, the Atlantic wolffish species plays a major role in the food web in the North Atlantic Ocean. These regulate the population of sea urchins and invertebrates such as green crabs, particularly in the Gulf of Maine.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other fish, including the toadfish, or longhorn cowfish.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our Wolffish coloring pages.

canadian waters the north atlantic ocean iceland and arctic oceans

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Written by Divya Raghav

Bachelor of Commerce specializing in Accounting and Finance, Master of Business Administration

Divya Raghav picture

Divya RaghavBachelor of Commerce specializing in Accounting and Finance, Master of Business Administration

With a diverse range of experience in finance, administration, and operations, Divya is a diligent worker known for her attention to detail. Born and raised in Bangalore, she completed her Bachelor's in Commerce from Christ University and is now pursuing an MBA at Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies, Bangalore. Along with her professional pursuits, Divya has a passion for baking, dancing, and writing content. She is also an avid animal lover who dedicates her time to volunteering for animal welfare causes.

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