Lingcod
Ophiodon elongatus

Physical Description

  • Long bodies that narrow at the tail
  • Dark grey, brown, or greenish on back with copper mottling on upper back
  • Large head and large mouth on bottom of head; 18 large sharp teeth
  • Can weigh up to 80 pounds and be as long as 5 feet
  • Flesh can naturally be blue-green prior to cooking

Range

  • From Kodiak Island in the Gulf of Alaska to Baja California, Mexico
  • Most abundant near British Columbia and Washington
  • Not common in southern California, tend to like colder waters

Habitat

  • Shallow, rocky habitats
  • Live on rocky reefs and ocean bottoms
  • Often at depths of 30-300 feet. Can be found at depths of 1500 feet or more¬†

Diet

  • Larval lingcod feed on zooplankton, like krill, larval crabs, and larval lobsters
  • Juvenile lingcod feed on other small fish
  • Adult lingcod are aggressive predators. They eat many bottom-dwelling fish, including smaller lingcod. They also eat squid, octopus, and crab

Predators

  • Lingcod eggs are eaten by rockfish, sea stars, sculpins, kelp greenling, and cod
  • Larval and adult lingcod are eaten by larger lingcod, marine mammals, and sharks

Interesting Facts

  • Lingcod are not cod at all. They are in the same group of fish as sablefish, Pacific rockfish, and scorpionfish.
  • These fish can live more than 20 years.
  • Males guard nesting areas for 8-10 weeks until the eggs hatch, while females are only there long enough to lay the eggs. The egg masses can weigh 15 pounds and be 2.5 feet across! Males have been known to attack humans while guarding eggs.¬†

Sources: NOAA Fisheries; EDF Seafood Source; Monterey Bay Aquarium

Photo: Kevin Lee

Back To Map