Mass 8.2 kg (Adult)
Higher classification Merluccius
Scientific name Merluccius merluccius
|Similar Merluccius, Atlantic mackerel, Whiting, Alaska pollock, Gilt‑head bream|
Merluccius merluccius (European hake) is a merluccid hake of the genus Merluccius. It sometimes was called the "herring hake", perhaps because it often feeds on Atlantic herring, so is likely to be netted along with herring. This is consistent with a 19th-century account:
"It is a very voracious fish, devouring great numbers of herrings and pilchards; hence it is frequently called the Herring Hake."
European hake is found in the Mediterranean Sea, the North Sea, and the eastern Atlantic Ocean between Iceland and Mauritania. It is a night predator which during the day stays on sandy or muddy abyssal plains, at depths usually between 30 and 400 m (98 and 1,312 ft), although it has been found at depths down to 1,000 m (3,300 ft). It can reach a length around 140 cm (55 in), with a weight up to 15 kg (33 lb).
The young feed on crustaceans, but as they grow, they start to feed on small and medium-sized fish and cephalopods. The adults show cannibalistic behaviour, eating smaller members of their own species.