Molva molva

Common Name


Year Described

Linnaeus, 1758


Dorsal Fin: 14-15; 59-70
Anal Fin: 57-66
Pectoral Fin:
Pelvic Fin:
Gill Rakers:
Vertebrae: 63-65

Body elongated and relatively slender (compared to other lotids). Head small. Mouth large and extends to under middle of eye. Eye moderate. Lips thick. Upper jaw slightly overhangs lower. Teeth on premaxilla, vomer and dentary. There is a single barbel on chin (longer than eye diameter). No flap or filaments on nostrils. Two dorsal fins: one small and rounded and the second long and low. D1 taller than D2. Anal fin shorter than dorsal fin. Caudal fin well separated from dorsal and anal fins. Tail edge rounded. Pectoral fin rounded. Pelvic fin short (anterior pair longest but not longer than pectoral fin). Scales cycloid and tiny. Lateral line arched anteriorly and becoming interrupted on caudal peduncle.


Body uniformly yellowish-brown to gray, grading to white on the belly. Body sometimes with diffuse brown blotching and/or small white spots. Median fins all body colored grading to blackish on the subterminal margin and a thin white margin. Rear of first dorsal fin with a black blotch. Fins sometimes spotted in smaller fish.


Maximum size to 20cm SL, but usually <16cm SL.


Known between 15-400m with adults in deep water and juveniles in the most shallow water. Benthic.


Off S. Greenland to Newfoundland. More widespread in northeastern Atlantic.


Cohen, D.M., Inada, T., Iwamoto, T. & N. Scialabba. 1990. FAO species catalogue. Vol. 10. Gadiform fishes of the world (Order Gadiformes). An annotated and illustrated catalogue of cods, hakes, grenadiers and other gadiform fishes known to date. FAO Fish. Synop. 125(10). Rome: FAO. 442 p.