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Author: (Risso, 1826)

Micromesistius poutassou (Risso, 1826)

Diagnosis: first dorsal finrays 12-14, second dorsal finrays 12-14, third dorsal finrays 23-28; first anal finrays 33-39, second anal finrays 24 27. Vertebrae 55-58. Gillrakers 27-33. Colour: bluish-grey on back, silvery on sides, belly milk white. Size: to 47 cm SL, usually 25-30 cm.

Habitat: mesopelagic, over depths of 160-3,000 m in midwater, 30-400 m from the surface, also near the bottom at 180-400 m; immature live in shallow waters, occasionally inshore. Behaviour: in shoals, less dense in winter, during daytime in deeper water, rising at night. Seasonal and spawning migrations not exactly known. Food: chiefly small crustaceans, euphausiids, amphipods, rarely fishes. Reproduction: from February in the south to May in the north, at 180-360 m, over edge of continental shelf, in water layers at 10-30 m from the bottom.

Distribution: North Atlantic from western Barents Sea, Spitzbergen, Iceland and Greenland, Skagerrak, Kattegat to Morocco, western Mediterranean, also western North Atlantic.

Eggs, larvae and young stages. Schmidt, 1905: 57, fig. 16, pl. III (fig. 10-15);1906: 11, pl. 1 (fig. 28-32) | Ehrenbaum, 1909: 256, fig. 92 | d'Ancona, 1933: 188, fig. 176-178, pl. XII (fig. 6).
Otoliths (sagitta). Jensen, 1905: 8, fig. 3a-b | Scott, 1906: 64, pl. IIA (fig. 29), pl. IV (fig. 5) | Frost, 1926: 486, pl. XXII (fig. 12) | Sanz Echeverría, 1926: 158, fig. 64; 1935: 255, pl. XXIX (fig. 11-13) | Schmidt, 1968: 15, pl. 3 (fig. 33), pl. 16.

Blue whiting (Micromesistius poutassou)