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  • Merlangus vulgaris  Fleming, 1828
    FAO Names
    En - Whiting, Fr - Merlan, Sp - Plegonero.
    3Alpha Code: WHG     Taxonomic Code: 1480403401
    Scientific Name with Original Description
    Gadus merlangus  Linnaeus, 1758, Syst.Nat, ed.X:253.
    Diagnostic Features
    Chin barbel absent or small. Upper jaw projecting slightly.  Three dorsal fins separated by small spaces and two anal fins touching each other or nearly so; anterior anal fin base elongate, one-half or more of preanal distance; pectoral fin reaching well beyond origin of anal fin; pelvic fin with a slightly elongated ray.  Lateral line continuous along its entire length. Lateral-line canals on head with pores.  Colour: variable; often a small dark blotch at upper base of pectoral fin. 
    Geographical Distribution

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    Eastern North Atlantic from the southeastern Barents Sea and Iceland to Portugal, also in the Black Sea, Aegean Sea, Adriatic Sea and adjacent areas. Rare in the northwestern Mediterranean according to Bini, 1970.
    Habitat and Biology
    Benthopelagicat depths from 10 to 200 m, but more common from 30 to 100 m,mainly on mud and gravel bottoms, but also on sand and rock. The young are found in shallower waters, from 5 to 30 m depth.Whitings migrate only after the first year of life when they leave the nursery areas for the open sea.First maturity is attained at 3 or 4 years of age.
    The sex ratio averages 38.5% males and 61.5% females in the Irish Sea, and 32.2% and 67.8% respectively in the North Sea. Fecundity estimates range from 200 000 eggs in small females to over 1 million eggs in large individuals. Spawning occurs at 20 to 150 m depth, from January to September in the area between the British Isles and the Bay of Biscay, from January to spring in the Mediterranean, and throughout the year in the Black Sea. The eggs are pelagic, and the larvae and juveniles are associated with jellyfish, and do not become demersal until they reach 5 to 10 cm length.  Growth is rapid; at one year of age, the size of fish ranges from 15 to 19 cm, at 2 years, from 22 to 5 cm, at 3 years, from 30 to 34 cm; females grow faster than males, life expectancy is about 10 years.The diet of adults includes shrimps, crabs, molluscs, small fish, polychaetes and cephalopods.
    Rarely reaching 70 cm; more common less than 23.50 cm.
    Interest to Fisheries
    A relatively common fish taken especially in European Atlantic waters. The catch for 1987 reported in the FAO Yearbook of Fishery Statistics totalled 151 269 t, of which 119 701 t were taken in the northeastern Atlantic (UK: ca. 58 176 t, France: 32 998 t, Ireland: 9 558 t, Netherlands,: 8 575 t, Denmark: 3 024 t, and others) and 32 907 t in the northwestern Atlantic (Turkey: 29 528 t, USSR: ca 2 764 t, and others). Whiting are caught mostly by bottom trawls and longlines; also handlines and occasionally, purse seines are used. The total catch reported for this species to FAO for 1999 was 75 245 t. The countries with the largest catches were UK (25 561 t) and France (20 693 t).
    They are marketed fresh, as chilled fillets, frozen, and dried-salted. Also used as feed for the Black Sea trout.
    Local Names
    ALGERIA : Murluts .
    BULGARIA : Medzid .
    DENMARK : Hvilling .
    FRANCE : Lécaud ,  Merlan ,  Merlana ,  Merlin ,  Merlu ,  Nasellu ,  Varlet (young) .
    GERMANY : Wittling .
    GREECE : TaoUki .
    ISRAEL : Merlan .
    ITALY : Merlano ,  Mob .
    MAROC : Peskadilia .
    MONACO : Merlan .
    NETHERLANDS : Wijting .
    POLAND : Witlinek .
    PORTUGAL : Badejo .
    ROMANIA : Bacaliar .
    SPAIN : Merlan ,  Plegonero .
    SWEDEN : Vitling .
    TUNISIA : Nazalli .
    TURKEY : Bakalyaro ,  Mezgit .
    USSR : Chernomorskiy merlang .
    UK : Whiting .
    Whiting from the Black Sea and adjacent waters are treated as separate subspecies by most ichthyobogists.
    Source of Information
    FAO species catalogue. Vol.10. Gadiform Fishes of the world (Order Gadiformes). An Annotated and Illustrated Catalogue of Cods, Hakes, Grenadiers and other Gadiform Fishes Known to Date.Daniel M.Cohen Tadashi Inada Tomio Iwamoto Nadia Scialabba 1990.  FAO Fisheries Synopsis. No. 125, Vol.10. Rome, FAO. 1990. 442p.
    Bini, (1969)
    Fischer & Bauchot, (1987); (eds.)
    Garrod & Gambell, (1965)
    Nagabhushanam, (1964)
    Svetoviclov , (1948)
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