1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Sea-wolf
|←Sea-urchin||1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 24
|See also Seawolf (fish) on Wikipedia, and our 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica disclaimer.|
SEA-WOLF, also Sea-cat and Wolf-fish (Anarrhichas lupus), a marine fish, the largest of the family Blenniidae or blennies. In spite of its large size, it has retained the bodily form and general external characteristics of the small blennies. Its body is long, subcylindrical in front, compressed in the caudal portion, smooth and slippery, the rudimentary scales being embedded and almost hidden in the skin. An even dorsal fin extends the whole length of the back, and a similar fin from the vent to the caudal fin, as in blennies. The pectorals are large and rounded, the pelvic fins entirely absent. Its dentition distinguishes the sea-wolf from all the other members of the family. Both jaws are armed in front with strong conical teeth, and on the sides with two series of large tubercular molars, a biserial band of similar molars occupying the middle of the palate. By these teeth the sea-wolf is able to crush the hard carapaces or shells of the crustaceans and molluscs on which it feeds; that it uses the teeth as a weapon of defence and deserves the character of ferocity generally attributed to it would appear to be rather questionable. Sea-wolves are inhabitants of the northern seas of both hemispheres, one (A. lupus) being common on the coasts of Scandinavia and North Britain, and two in the seas round Iceland and Greenland. Two others occur in the corresponding latitudes of the North Pacific. They attain to a length exceeding 6 ft., and in the north are esteemed as food, both fresh and preserved. The oil extracted from the liver is said to be in quality equal to the best cod-liver oil.
To the fishermen of the North Sea this fish is generally known as the cat-fish, and for some years past numbers of this species have been marketed. As it would be impossible to sell the fish in its natural state on account of its forbidding appearance, it is skinned and beheaded, and the flesh retailed under the name of rock-salmon.