Gaidropsarus argentatus

Common Name

Arctic Rockling

Year Described

Reinhardt, 1837


Dorsal Fin: 52-65 (third fin)
Anal Fin: 43-51
Pectoral Fin: 22-24
Pelvic Fin: 7-9
Gill Rakers: 8-11 (first arch)
Vertebrae: 51-53 total

Body very elongate and tapering posteriorly. Head about one fourth of standard length. Eye width greater than interorbital distance. Upper jaw projects slightly. Teeth present on premaxilla, vomer, and dentary. Two distinct barbels on snout adjacent to anterior nostrils. A single chin barbel. There are three dorsal fins: the first a single pseudospine (31-43% HL) that does not reach base of D3, the second a series of very short hairlike rays lacking membranes, and the third a long and low fin consisting of membrane bound segmented rays. First dorsal fin rests in a groove on top of head. Anal fin long and low with origin well behind D3. Pectoral fin large. Pelvic fin with first and second rays not elongated. Tail rounded and separated from D3 and anal fins. Body scaled. Head naked. Lateral line interrupted and distinctly notched at level of anal fin origin. Pores present on head.


Body reddish, red-brown, or gray above and grading to whitish below. Body either plain or mottled/spotted with a darker shade. Fins usually grayish with a broad reddish outer border. Lateral line checkered. Eye black.


Maximum size to 45cm TL.


Benthic on hard bottoms. Occurs from 100-2260m, but usually 440-1400m in the Arctic N. Atlantic. Water is near freezing where it is collected.


North Atlantic: N. Greenland through the Davis Strait to off Newfoundland and the Bear Seamounts off New England. Also in the northeastern Atlantic.


Barros-García, D., Bañón, R., Arronte, J.C., Fernández-Peralta, L., García, R., Iglésias, S.P., Sellos, D.Y, Barreiros, J.P., Comesana, A.S. & A. De Carlos. 2018. New insights into the systematics of North Atlantic Gaidropsarus (Gadiformes, Gadidae): flagging synonymies and hidden diversity. Marine Biology Research, 14(1), 17-29.

Coad, B.W., & J.D. Reist. 2018. Marine Fishes of Arctic Canada. University of Toronto Press. 618pp.