Molva molva (Linnaeus, 1758)


Molva molva

Description: The ling is a long, slender bodied fish with a distinctive single barbel on the chin. It has two dorsal fins, the first fin is short and rounded in outline whilst the second is long and of uniform height. There is a dark spot on the rear side of both dorsal fins. Adult fish are usually silvery-cream in colour with brownish-green mottling on the back and flanks. Juvenile fish have a yellowish-olive coloration with lilac-blue irridescent mottling. Ling can grow to 2.2m in length but most are between 1-1.5m.

Habitat: Ling are usually encountered by divers in crevices or ledges in rocky cliffs at depths below 10m. Their diet consists mainly of smaller fish although they also eat crustaceans and some echinoderms.

Distribution: Ling are fairly common around the south-west of Britain, and western coasts of Ireland and Scotland. So far it has not been recorded from the Irish Sea coasts, the eastern side of the English Channel or the east coast of England.

Similar Species: Small ling may sometimes be confused with rocklings however the ling has only one barbel on its chin whereas rocklings have several.

Key Identification Features:

Distribution Map: NBN map : National Biodiversity Network mapping facility, data for UK.

WoRMS: Species record : World Register of Marine Species.

iNaturalist: Species account : iNaturalist World Species Observations database

 Picton, B.E. & Morrow, C.C. (2016). Molva molva (Linnaeus, 1758). [In] Encyclopedia of Marine Life of Britain and Ireland.
https://www.habitas.org.uk/marinelife/species.asp?item=ZG1960 Accessed on 2024-05-30

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