Taxon profile


Merluccius productus (Ayres, 1855)

kingdom Animalia - animals »  phylum Chordata - chordates »  class Actinopterygii - ray-finned fishes »  order Gadiformes »  family Merlucciidae - merluccid hakes »  genus Merluccius

Scientific synonyms

Merlangus productus Ayres, 1855
Homalopomus trowbridgii Girard, 1856

Least Concern



Scales along the lateral line 144 to 166. Head 24.7 to 28.9% of standard length. Snout 31.1 to 35.4%, eye diameter 16.1 to 22.6%, and interorbital width 24.0 to 28.8% of head length. No scales on nasal membrane, lacrimal, lower part of cheek, preopercular, and interopercular. Gillrakers on first branchial arch 18 (22) 23, 3 to 6 on upper arm and 14 to 17 on lower. 1D 10 (11) 13 rays; 2D 37 (40-42) 44 rays; A 39 (41) 44 rays. Pectoral fins with 14 (16) 17 rays, length 17.4 to 21.9% of standard length and usually reaching beyond the origin of anal fin. Ventral fins 10.4 to 13.9% of standard length. Caudal-fin margin slightly concave. Vertebrae 50 to 55, 5 cervical with 3 ribs.
Colour: silvery grey on back and whitish on belly.


Different populations have been described with meristic values and size variations, as noted below. North Pacific hake shares part of its distribution area with M. angustimanus (for differences see notes on the latter). Examples of differential characters are head length in comparison to standard length, number of gillrakers, scales along the lateral line, and hyomandibular and urohyal geometry.


Eastern Pacific: Canada, United States and part of the Gulf of California, Mexico, up to 16°N (Gulf of Tehuantepec). To the south it shares its distribution area with Panama hake (M. angustimanus). Amongst the examined samples, one specimen (MNHN 0000-4954) coming from Mazatlan (Mexico) stands out, with a standard length of 424 mm, 22 (5+17) gillrakers, and head 27.9% of standard length.


North Pacific hake lives in association with the California Current, migrating to northern and shallower waters in autumn and winter. Feeds on crustaceans and fish: basic food for larvae and juveniles are copepods and euphausiacids, respectively. Adults feed on euphausiacids, pandalids, and fish, especially herring; large specimens have cannibalistic habits. Growth is fast, attaining 26 cm by the second summer and 34 by the third; individuals can live up to 20 years, but commonly not more than 12. There is a dwarf population present mainly south of 28° 45’N, where most specimens reach sexual maturity at 2 years of age and over 22 cm. Another oceanic population, distributed north of 28° 44’N, reaches sexual maturity at 3 or 4 years and at 35 to 45 cm. Both populations live in the high seas, sometimes mixing at the limits of their respective distribution areas except during reproduction. The dwarf population reproduces between 25° and 28°N, 10 to 20 miles from the Baja Californian peninsular coast, between April and February; the population of larger-sized fish reproduces between 30° and 34°N, 100 to 200 miles from the Californian coast, with a peak in March. Little is known about reproductive aggregations; spawning seems to take place at 130 to 150 m depth, eggs float up to 40-60 m depth. The populations migrate north after reproduction, the larger the fish the farther north it reaches. Males, which are smaller than females, reach Canada later and begin their return to the spawning areas before them.


Maximum recorded length 91 cm; common to 60 cm.


Lloris, D.; Matallanas, J.; Oliver P., Hakes of the world (Family Merlucciidae). An annotated and illustrated catalogue of hake species known to date., FAO Species Catalogue for Fishery Purposes. No. 2. Rome, FAO. 2005
Author: Petr Čech

Links and literature

CH DE EN FR IT NL PR SP FishBase [326]

Froese R., Pauly D. (eds.): FishBase []
CZ AQUATAB. World Wide Web electronic publication [species/16214]

Plíštil J. (Ed.) (2009): AQUATAB. World Wide Web electronic publication [] [as Merluccius productus (Ayres, 1855)]
Data retrieved on: 17 January 2010
EN IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2018-1 [183411]

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species [] [as Merluccius productus (Ayres, 1855)]
Data retrieved on: 3 August 2018
CZ Hanel L., Novák J. (2007): České názvy živočichů V. Ryby a rybovití obratlovci (Pisces), 5. Paprskoploutví (Actinopterygii), kostnatí (Neopterygii) - stříbrnicotvární (Argentiniformes), ďasové (Lophiiformes), Národní muzeum (zoologické oddělení), Praha, 91 str. [as Merluccius productus (Ayres, 1855)]
Data retrieved on: 16 November 2013

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