Anarhichas lupus

Common Name

Atlantic Wolffish

Year Described

Linnaeus, 1758


Dorsal Fin: 71-77 (spines)
Anal Fin: 42-48
Pectoral Fin: 18-22
Caudal Fin: 22-26
Vertebrae: 72-78

Body elongate and robust, with a large head. Jaws with large canine teeth forward, becoming more blunt rearward. Teeth on vomer extend beyond the palatine teeth. Dorsal fin runs from rear of head to the caudal fin. Anal fin long. Caudal fin small and rounded. Pelvic fin absent. Pectoral fin large and fan-like.


Body gray, yellow-brown, to blue-gray with a blue or purple sheen in living specimens. There are around 10 irregular dark body bars that continue onto the dorsal fin. No spots anywhere on body.


Maximum size to 125cm TL.


Continental waters from 1-500m. Bottom dwelling in areas of mixed hard and soft substrate.


Greenland to Cape Hatteras (rare south of Cape Cod).


Barsukov, V.V. 1986. Anarhichadidae. p. 1113-1116. In: P.J.P. Whitehead, M.-L. Bauchot, J.-C. Hureau, J. Nielsen and E. Tortonese (eds.). Fishes of the North-eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean. volume 3. UNESCO, Paris.

Richards, W.J. (Ed.). 2005. Early Stages of Atlantic Fishes: An Identification Guide for the Western Central North Atlantic. CRC Press, Boca Raton, Florida.

Templeman, W. 1984. Vertebral and Dorsal Fin-ray Numbers in Atlantic Wolffish (Anarhichas lupus) of the Northwest Atlantic. Journal of Northwest Atlantic Fishery Science. Vol. 5: 207-212.