Merluccius merluccius

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European hake
Merluccius merluccius.002 - Aquarium Finisterrae.JPG
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Gadiformes
Family: Merlucciidae
Genus: Merluccius
Species: M. merluccius
Binomial name
Merluccius merluccius
(Linnaeus, 1758)
Merluccius merluccius mapa.svg

Merluccius merluccius (European hake) is a merluccid hake of the genus Merluccius. It sometimes was called the "herring hake",[1] perhaps because it often feeds on Atlantic herring, so is likely to be netted along with herring. This is consistent with a 19th-century account:

"It is a very voracious fish, devouring great numbers of herrings and pilchards; hence it is frequently called the Herring Hake."[2]

European hake is found in the Mediterranean Sea, the North Sea, and the eastern Atlantic Ocean between Iceland and Mauritania. It is a night predator which during the day stays on sandy or muddy abyssal plains, at depths usually between 30 and 400 m (98 and 1,312 ft), although it has been found at depths down to 1,000 m (3,300 ft). It can reach a length around 140 cm (55 in), with a weight up to 15 kg (33 lb).

The young feed on crustaceans, but as they grow, they start to feed on small and medium-sized fish and cephalopods. The adults show cannibalistic behaviour, eating smaller members of their own species.


  1. ^ van Wely, F. P. H. Prick (1951). Cassell's English-Dutch, Dutch-English dictionary. London: Cassell. 
  2. ^ Chambers, W. & R. (1872). Chambers's encyclopedia. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers.