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Mallotus villosus:   (click for more)

Mallotus villosus:   (click for more)

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  • Clupea villosa  Müller, 1776: 50 (original description).
  • Salmo arcticus  Fabricius, 1780: 177.
  • Salmo groenlandicus  Bloch, 1793: 99.
  • Salmo lodde  Lacepède, 1804: 156.
  • Clupea lodna  Hermann, 1804: 316.
  • Salmo socialis  Pallas, 1814: 389.
  • Mallotus villosus  Cuvier, 1829: 306.
  • Mallotus arcticus  Kroyer, 1846-1853: 23.
  • Osmerus microdon  Valenciennes, 1848: 385.
  • Mallotus elongatus  Mori, 1930: 5.
  • Sudis squamosa  Chapman, 1939: 519.
  • Mallotus villosus villosus  Rumjanev, 1947: 35.
    FAO Names
    En - Capelin, Fr - Capelan, Sp - Capelán.
    3Alpha Code: CAP     Taxonomic Code: 1230400201
    Diagnostic Features
    Body elongate, somewhat compressed. Snout a little pointed, upper jaw reaching to about eye centre, lower jaw projecting;  teeth on jaws small, vomerine teeth minute.  Gillrakers 33-44 (48).  Dorsal fin (with 10-14 rays) origin behind midpoint of body and about over pelvic fin bases, a low adipose fin behind it; pectoral finrays 16-21.  Scales very small, cycloid, 170-220, lateral line complete and reaching to caudal peduncle; males develop a midlateral ridge of elongate scales along flanks at spawning time.  Colour on the back, transparent olive to bottle green; below, the sides are silvery and the belly is silvery-white. The edges of the scales have dusky specks. 
    Geographical Distribution
    North Atlantic and tributary parts of the Arctic; in the eastern Atlantic, from Spitsbergen and Jan Mayen Is., southeastern Greenland, Iceland, White and Barents Seas, northern Norway southward to Trondheim Fjord in abundance, occasionally to Oslo Fjord and Faroes; in the western Atlantic, from southwestern Greenland, Hudson Bay, and northern Labrador, southward to Newfoundland (including the islands of St. Pierre and Miquelon), the Gulf of St. Lawrence, northern Nova Scotia, and occasionally to the eastern part of the Gulf of Maine; Arctic coast of Alaska and Canada (Bathurst Inlet, Coronation Gulf, and Welcome Gulf); in the North Pacific southward to the Strait of Juan de Fuca in the east and to Korea and northern Japan in the west.
    Habitat and Biology
    Marine, littoral to neritic and epibenthicon fishing banks down to 300 m.They feed almost exclusively on small planktonic crustaceans (euphausiid shrimps as well as various isopod, gammarid and copepod).
    This fish spawns in late spring and early summer (different populations) in large schools in the shoreline, or in very shallow water, to lay adhesive eggs on beaches and banks. The eggs are buried in the gravel and hatch in 2 to 3 weeks.  Mature males have the base of the anal fin strongly convex, the fins generally larger and their margins rounder, and two distinct lines of lanceolate scales on flanks (mid-lateral and between pectoral and pelvic bases), also small nuptial tubercles on fins (especially on the paired fins). The capelin rarely live longer than five years.
    Attains a maximum size of 23 cm. Males are slightly larger than females in each year class.
    Interest to Fisheries
    Is extremely abundant in the Arctic parts of the North Atlantic and forms a major constituent of the diet of many larger fishes, sea-birds, and cetaceans, as well as the human inhabitants of the region. Wherever Capelin are caught they are taken chiefly in cast nets or dip nets, but sometimes in beach seines and even in tubs, buckets, and hand scoops, as has been described in vivid terms by Hardy (1867) for Conception Bay, Newfoundland. We have never heard of one being caught on hooks and lines. Most common fishing techniques are "small pelagic purse seining" and Capelin purse seining". The total catch reported for this species to FAO for 1999 was 904 840 t. The countries with the largest catches were Iceland (703 694 t) and Norway (92 567 t).
    Local Names
    English : Capelin .
    Finnish : Villakuore .
    French : Capelan Atlantique .
    German : Lodde .
    Greenlander : Angmagssak .
    Icelandic : Lodna .
    Japanese : Karafuto-shishamo .
    Netherlander : Smaelt .
    Norwegian : Lodde .
    Russian : Moiva .
    Swedish : Lodde .
    Mallotus villosus, is easily distinguished from other osmerids by the high number of scales along the lateral line, 170 to 220, from all other except Thaleichthys by the numerous pectoral rays (16) 17 to 21, from all other except hypomesus olidus by the long adipose base, 1.5 or more times orbit; from all other by the small ninth pelvic ray. Other species (Osmerus eperlanus and Osmerus mordax) because these have the incomplete lateral line. The capelin is rare to exceedingly abundant with strong seasonal and annual fluctuations and it is vital to many food-chains in the Arctic.
    Bigelow, H. B. & W. C. Schroeder - 1963 Family Osmeridae. In: Fishes of the Western North Atlantic. Mem. Sears Found. Mar. Res., New Haven, 1(3): 553-597.
    Kljukanov, A. & D. E. McAllister. - 1973 Osmeridae In: J.-C Hureau & Th. Monod (eds). Check-list of the fishes of the north-eastern Atlantic and of the Mediterranean (CLOFNAM), Paris, Unesco, 1973. Vol. I: 158-159.
    McAllister, D. E. - 1963A revision of the smelt family, Osmeridae. Bull. natn. Mus. Can., 191: 1-53.
    McAllister, D. E. - 1984 Osmeridae In: P.J.P. Whitheat et al., (eds), Fishes of the North-eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean (FNAM), Paris, Unesco, Vol. I: 399-402.
    Wheeler, A. - 1978Key to the Fishes of Northern Europe. A guide to the identification of more than 350 species. Frederick Warne (Publishers) Ltd., London. 380 pp.
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