Gadus merlangus Linnaeus, 1758
Merlangius merlangus, commonly known as whiting, is an important food fish in the eastern North Atlantic Ocean and the northern Mediterranean, western Baltic, and Black Seas. In English-speaking countries outside the whiting's natural range, the name has been applied to various other species of fish.
It has three dorsal and two anal fins. A chin barbel, if present, is very small. It can reach a maximum length of about 70 cm (28 inches), and has a silvery color with a distinctive black blotch near the base of each pectoral fin. Several species of the drum, or croaker, family (Sciaenidae) are also called whiting, among them the northern kingfish (Menticirrhus saxatilis).
Until the late 20th century, whiting was a cheap fish, regarded as food for the poor or for pets, but the general decline in fish stocks means it is now more highly valued. The other fish that have been given the name whiting are mostly also food fish.
Whiting and related cod species are plagued by parasites. These include the cod worm, Lernaeocera branchialis, a copepod crustacean that clings to the gills or the fish and metamorphoses into a plump, sinusoidal, wormlike body, with a coiled mass of egg strings at the rear.
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