Marine Wildlife Encyclopedia
Wolf-fish Anarhichas lupus
This large and ferocious-looking fish is normally found on rocky reefs in deep water. However, north of the British Isles, divers regularly see wolf-fish in shallow water. They are not aggressive to divers unless provoked. The wolf-fish has a long body and a huge head with strong caninelike teeth at the front and molarlike teeth at the sides. These are used to break open hard-shelled invertebrates such as mussels, crabs, and sea urchins. Worn teeth are replaced each year. The wolf-fish's skin is tough, leathery, and wrinkled and is usually grayish with darker vertical bands extending down the sides.
Spawning takes place during the winter. The female wolf-fish lays thousands of yellowish eggs in round clumps among rocks and seaweeds and the male guards them until they hatch. In spite of their unattractive appearance, wolf-fish are good to eat and are caught by anglers. They are also sometimes caught in trawl nets.