Pollachius virens (Linnaeus, 1758)

Saithe, Coalfish or Coley

Pollachius virens

Description: The coalfish has a typical cod family shaped body with three dorsal and two anal fins. The first anal fin originates beneath the space between the first and second dorsal fins. The upper and lower jaws are approximately equal in length and there is no chin barbel. The lateral line is straight and light in colour. The back and sides are dusky greenish-brown or blackish and the belly is silvery white. The pale lateral line is conspicuous against the dusky sides. Most adult fish are between 70-80cm in length although it can grow to 1.3m.

Habitat: The coalfish is usually encountered in rocky areas or near wreck from the surface down to 250m depth. Juvenile fish are sometimes found in rockpools on the low shore. Young fish feed on crustaceans and small fish whilst adults feed on smaller members of the cod and herring family.

Distribution: This species is common and widespread all around the coasts of Britain and Ireland.

Similar Species: See comments on the pollack (Pollachius pollachius).

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). Pollachius virens (Linnaeus, 1758). [In] Encyclopedia of Marine Life of Britain and Ireland.
https://www.habitas.org.uk/marinelife/species.asp?item=ZG2090 Accessed on 2024-04-22

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