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a family of fishes of the order Gadiformes. The fish have one to three dorsal fins and one or two anal fins. The scales are cycloid. The family has 21 genera, embracing 53 species of varying size. Gadikulus argentens and the arctic cod are small, while the haddock, navaga, and burbot are of medium size and the cod, ling, and pollack are large. Approximately 39 species inhabit temperate waters of the Atlantic. The Pacific and Arctic oceans have five species each, and the southern hemisphere has four species. Only one species, the burbot, lives in the fresh, cold waters of Europe, Asia, and North America, although the navaga enters fresh waters for feeding. In the USSR, the Gadidae are most abundant in the Barents Sea, but they are also found in the Black, Baltic, White, and Arctic seas and seas of the Far East.
Most Gadidae are bottom-dwelling school fishes that inhabit relatively shallow water, to depths of 800 m; however, there are a few pelagic species, such as the blue whiting Micromesistius australis, and some deep-sea species, such as the arctic cod. All large species are predators or euryphages. Several species migrate as far as several thousand kilometers to feed or spawn, for example, the cod and southern representatives of Micromesistius australis. Many are found in large groups. The female deposits between a few thousand and 60 million eggs, in the case of the cod and ling. In most species the eggs are pelagic, although in a few, such as the navaga and Pacific cod, they are benthic.
The Gadidae are very important commercially. The flesh is lean, containing only up to 1 percent fat; the fat, which is rich in vitamins A and D, accumulates in the liver.
REFERENCESSvetovidov, A. N. Treskoobraznye. Moscow-Leningrad, 1948.
(Fauna SSSR: Ryby, vol. 9, fasc. 4.) Andriiashev, A. P. Ryby severnykh morei SSSR. Moscow-Leningrad, 1954.
Zhizn’ zhivotnykh, vol. 4, part 1. Moscow, 1971.
A. V. NEELOV