Polar cod, Arctogadus glacialis.

Polar Cod, Arctogadus glacialis

Polar cod grow to a length of 40 cm and have the body shape typical of other cods. Their three dorsal fins, two anal fins, and slightly forked caudal fin are all darkly coloured, while its brownish upper body contrasts with its silvery belly. Their lower jaw sometimes projects slightly and the mouth has many strong teeth. In contrast to other cods, most individuals of this species lack chin barbels. If present, they are very small.

The polar cod is often common in shallow water and is thus often associated with ice, but it has also been reported from depths of over 1000 metres. Its main food is the arctic cod, Boreogadus saida, but it also eats crustaceans that live under the sea ice. It occurs in the Canadian Arctic, from Ellesmere Island south to Baffin Island and west to the Beaufort Sea, and is also present off northern Greenland and northeastern Siberia. In the Baffin Sea and along the east coast of Greenland, they are harvested for fish meal and oil. Little is known about the reproductive habits of the polar cod, except that females reach sexual maturity at 3 to 4 years of age.