The wolf eel (Anarrhichthys ocellatus) is a species of wolffish (Anarhichadidae) from the North Pacific. It is monotypic within the genus Anarrhichthys and one of only two genera in the family, the other being Anarhichas.
|Wolf eel in Puget Sound|
A. ocellatus differs from true eels, because it has paired gill slits and pectoral fins. The animal can grow to 2.4 m (7 ft 10 in) in length and 18.4 kg (41 lb) in weight. Unlike the grayish adults, the young are orange. The wolf eel usually lives for about 25 years.
Large wolf eels are curious and are rarely aggressive, but are capable of inflicting painful bites on humans. The male and female may pair for life and inhabit a cave together; the two watch their eggs together and one always stays behind when the other leaves to feed.
This eel-like fish feeds on crustaceans, sea urchins, mussels, clams and some fishes, crushing them with its strong jaws.
The wolf eel has edible, sweet and savoury white flesh. In some coastal northwest Native American tribes, the wolf eel was referred to as the sacred "doctorfish". Only the tribal healers were allowed to eat this fish, as it was supposed to enhance their healing powers.
- Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2016). "Anarrhichthys ocellatus" in FishBase. November 2016 version.
- Froese, Rainer, and Daniel Pauly, eds. (2016). "Anarhichadidae" in FishBase. November 2016 version.
- Sempier, S. (2003). Wolf Eel at the Wayback Machine (archived July 20, 2011) Marine Species with Aquaculture Potential.