The wolffish has a motherly visage, but it’s also surprisingly loving. It also makes antifreeze.
The Atlantic wolffish (Anarhichas lupus) has just one thing in common with wolves: it possesses sharp teeth and a powerful jaw to help it rip apart its meal. Its teeth are so pronounced that some of them even protrude from its mouth, giving it a scary and amusing aspect – at least by human standards.
Those massive chompers, on the other hand, have a function. They are used by the fish to dig for food in the mud on the ocean bottom and to crack the hard shells of crabs, urchins, clams, and other sea creatures. The Atlantic wolffish is distinguished by its long, eel-like body in addition to its fangs.
This benthic inhabitant may be found on both the west and east sides of the Atlantic Ocean, dwelling on the hard ocean floor at roughly 2000 feet and commonly observed in nooks and tiny caves. It also has a unique trick! To keep its blood circulating freely, its system creates antifreeze. It, too, need it, as it thrives in water temperatures ranging from 1 to 11 degrees Celsius.
And that’s not the only thing that distinguishes this species!
While most fish species “broadcast spawn,” with females releasing hundreds of eggs into the water and males trying to fertilize them outwardly, wolffish couple up and fertilize the female’s eggs inside, much like mammals do! And it’s not the end of the story.
The female incubates the eggs for four to nine months, depending on the water temperature, before laying them in enormous clusters. After that, for around four months until the eggs hatch, the male zealously defends the eggs.
Despite their frightening appearance, these fish are really friendly to people! As a result, some divers go out of their way to find them, and they frequently become friends with their local wolffish. So, have a look at this.
Truly a remarkable species.