Wolf eel

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Wolf eel
Wolf eel.png
A wolf eel (right)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Perciformes
Family: Anarhichadidae
Genus: Anarrhichthys
Ayres, 1855
Species: A. ocellatus
Binomial name
Anarrhichthys ocellatus
Ayres, 1855

The wolf eel (Anarrhichthys ocellatus) is a member of the family Anarhichadidae together with the wolffishes of the genus Anarhichas.[1] The wolf eel is monotypic within the genus Anarrhichthys. This superficially eel-like fish feeds on crustaceans, sea urchins, mussels, clams and some fishes, crushing them with its strong jaws. It can grow to be 203 cm (80 in), 18.6 kg (41 lb), and is found in the northern Pacific Ocean, ranging from the Sea of Japan and the Aleutian Islands to southern California. The wolf eel makes its home on rocky reefs or stony bottom shelves from shallow to moderate depths, picking a territory in a crevice, den or lair in the rocks and usually lives there for about 25 years.

Large wolf eels are curious and friendly[2] and are rarely aggressive, but are capable of inflicting painful bites on humans.[3] They have edible, sweet and savoury white flesh. Milton Love notes, "They are good to eat and some northwest Native American tribes reserved this species for tribal healers."[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "FishBase" Online Database. Last accessed 16 February 2008
  2. ^ http://www.oceanlink.info/biodiversity/wolfeel.html
  3. ^ http://www.fishbase.org/Summary/SpeciesSummary.php?id=3813
  4. ^ From the book titled Probably more than you want to know about the fishes of the Pacific coast, cited at http://hmsc.oregonstate.edu/projects/msap/PS/masterlist/fish/wolfeel.html