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Whiting    noun

Oxford Dictionary definition:  small edible sea fish.

Our definition:  Whiting (Merlangius merlangus) fish are similar in appearance to their larger relatives,  cod, haddock, coley and pollack.  They have three dorsal fins separated by small gaps, the third fin extending almost to the tail fin.  The tail is not forked, having almost a square end.  The two anal fins are very close together, nearly touching one another and, together with the anterior fin, are elongated.  The pectoral fin is also long and projects beyond the base of the anal fin.  A whiting’s upper jaw projects slightly beyond the lower, and the lateral line is continuous along the length of the body.  In colour, individual fish vary quite a lot, and there is often a small dark blotch at upper base of the pectoral fin.  They can grow to up to 50 cm long.

Juvenile-whiting

Whiting matures at between three and four years of age, and spawning takes place at a depth of 20 to 150 m.  The time of the spawning varies from location to location: from January to spring in the Mediterranean; from January to September in the area between the British Isles and the Bay of Biscay; and throughout the year in the Black Sea.  A large female can produce up to one million eggs.  The eggs float in the open ocean and the larval whiting swim with other sea plankton until they have attained a length of around 10 cm.  The fish grow quickly, with females growing faster than males, and can live to about ten years of age.  The diet of the whiting consists of bottom-living organisms, such as crabs, shrimps, small fish, molluscs, worms, squid and cuttlefish.

The biggest threat to whiting is “over-harvesting” (euphemism) by the fishing fleets of many nations (of course).

Winkle    noun

Oxford Dictionary definition:  edible sea snail.

Our definition:  A winkle is a small herbivorous shore-dwelling mollusc with a spiral shell.   Winkle is also a common name applied to numerous different species of small, round snails.  These are often species of sea snails, but also some small round freshwater snails, and even some land snails that have an operculum (a secreted plate that closes the aperture of a gastropod mollusc’s shell when the animal is retracted).

 

Wrasse    noun

Oxford Dictionary definition:  brilliant-coloured edible sea fish.

Our definition:  There are more than 500 different species of Wrasse found in the shallower coastal waters and coral reefs, of the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic oceans.  Wrasse most commonly inhabit areas that have an abundance of both food and places to hide, making coral reefs and rocky shores a perfect home for them.

Cleaner wrasse are the most well-known wrasse species as they are often seen going into the mouths of large marine animals in order remove the dead material inside.  Cleaner wrasse feed on dead tissues, scales and parasites that lurk inside the mouth of the larger animal.

Wrasse come in a variety of colours and sizes depending on the species.  They tend to be relatively small in size, with many species being less than 20 cm in length.  One species of wrasse however is enormous in comparison, growing to more than 2 meters long.

They are carnivorous animals who have thick lips with a row of teeth that usually face outwards.  Their mouths are protractile (capable of extending forwards).  Wrasse will eat small invertebrates, small fish and food particles in the water such as those left in the wake of larger carnivores.

Due to their small size, wrasse have numerous predators including larger fish, such as lionfish, dogfish and barracuda.  They are even eaten by some smaller species of shark.

 

 

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