The maximum size of a lingcod known is 152 cm, with the maximum weight being 59 kg. When the females mature at 3 to 5 years, they measure 61 to 75 cm. Males mature at 2 years of age. Their length is usually 45 cm by then.
The lingcod (Ophiodon elongate) belongs to the Ophiodon genus. It is part of the Hexagrammidae family in the Scorpaeniformes order. It is the only surviving constituent of the Ophiodon genus.
The fish is found along the North American west coast. Specifically the fish can be seen along the Shumagin Islands all the way to Baja, California. The fish is most abundant off British Columbia.
In spite of the different sizes of lingcod, all of them come in varying shades of gray. In appearance, the fish is strikingly similar to the cod, which is how it got the name. However, the two species are not related. The lingcod is not related to the ling either.
The fish likes to swim around 10 to 100 m deep. They can be found around rocky parts at the bottom of the ocean. The fish do not migrate. Research has shown that recruitment and colonization occurs at local places only.
The fish head to the near shore spawning ground around October. Migration commences with the males. They make the nest sites around strong current places. This would typically be around ledges or rugged fissures.
The actual spawning season commences anytime from December and March, regardless of the size of a lingcod. The females depart the site once the eggs are laid out. It is the males that protect the eggs from any incoming predator. The eggs start to hatch sometime in March or April.
The larvae remain pelagic up to June. By this time they will become juveniles and go to the bottom. At first they stay at eel grass beds. Over time the fish move to the even, sandy areas.
Note that these are not the types that mature lingcod stay in. As the juvenile get older they will look for habitats similar to older lingcod. Until they are prepared, the fish will not go to the deeper waters. It usually takes several years before the juveniles are able to swim deeply.
Characteristics of Male and Female Lingcod
The males are distinguished from the females by their conical papilla, located at the rear of the anal vent. Both sexes grow at a similar pace up to two years. 45 cm is the average length for both sexes.
Males usually stop growing when they reach eight years of age, while females keep growing until they are 14 years old. The maximum lifespan for females is 20 years and for males 14 years. Their diet consists of herring and other kinds of fish.
The size of a lingcod and its physical traits often confuse it with cod and other fish. But as the facts show, the fish has its own unique characteristics that set it apart from others. .