Merluccius bilinearis  (Mitchill, 1814)

Silver hake
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Image of Merluccius bilinearis (Silver hake)
Merluccius bilinearis
Picture by Flescher, D.

Classification / Names Common names | Synonyms | Catalog of Fishes (gen., sp.) | ITIS | CoL | WoRMS | Cloffa

Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Gadiformes (Cods) > Merlucciidae (Merluccid hakes) > Merlucciinae
Etymology: Merluccius: Latin, mar, maris = the sea + Latin, lucius = pike (Ref. 45335).

Environment / Climate / Range Ecology

Marine; demersal; oceanodromous (Ref. 51243); depth range 55 - 914 m (Ref. 58452).   Temperate; 55°N - 24°N, 80°W - 42°W (Ref. 54581)

Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age

Maturity: Lm 23.2  range ? - ? cm
Max length : 76.0 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 1371); common length : 37.0 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 1371); common length :65 cm TL (female); max. published weight: 2.3 kg (Ref. 1371); max. reported age: 12 years (Ref. 1371)

Short description Morphology | Morphometrics

Dorsal spines (total): 1; Dorsal soft rays (total): 47-54; Anal spines: 0; Anal soft rays: 37 - 41. Head large, about 30% of SL . Pectoral fins long, reaching origin of anal fin. Overall color is silvery, somewhat brownish on back, whitish on belly.

Distribution Countries | FAO areas | Ecosystems | Occurrences | Point map | Introductions | Faunafri

Northwest Atlantic: coast of Canada and USA from Bell Isle Channel to the Bahamas; most common from southern Newfoundland to South Carolina.

Biology     Glossary (e.g. epibenthic)

Abundant on sandy grounds and strays into shallower waters. A voracious predator with cannibalistic habits. Individuals over 40 cm TL prey on fishes such as gadoids and herring, while smaller ones feed on crustaceans, i.e. euphausiids and pandalids; food also includes gaspereau, myctophids, smelt, silversides, mackerel, sand lance, butterfish, snakeblennies, longhorn sculpins and squids (Ref. 5951). The smallest specimen feeds mostly on crustaceans (Ref. 58452). Exhibits seasonal onshore-offshore migration (Ref. 9988). Spawning takes place from June-July in the mid-Atlantic region; July-August in the Gulf of Maine and to the north of Georges Bank, and August-September on the Scotian Shelf (Ref. 58452). Marketed fresh, smoked and frozen; fresh fish are exported to European markets; eaten fried, broiled, microwaved and baked (Ref. 9988).

Life cycle and mating behavior Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae

Spawning appears to be strongly influenced by water temperature, and annual variations occur both in the peak and the range of the spawning period, which may influence considerably the growth of juveniles.

Main reference Upload your references | References | Coordinator | Collaborators

Cohen, D.M., T. Inada, T. Iwamoto and N. Scialabba, 1990. 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. FAO Fish. Synop. 125(10). Rome: FAO. 442 p. (Ref. 1371)

IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 96402)

CITES (Ref. 94142)

Not Evaluated

Threat to humans


Human uses

Fisheries: highly commercial
FAO(fisheries: production, species profile; publication : search) | FisheriesWiki | Sea Around Us

More information

Larval dynamics
Aquaculture profile
Allele frequencies
Mass conversion
Stamps, Coins
Swim. type
Gill area


Special reports

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Internet sources

BHL | Cloffa | Websites from users | Check FishWatcher | CISTI | Catalog of Fishes (gen., sp.) | DiscoverLife | Faunafri | Fishtrace | GenBank(genome, nucleotide) | GOBASE | Google Books | Google Scholar | Google | IGFA World Record | iSpecies | PubMed | Scirus | SeaLifeBase | Tree of Life | uBio | Wikipedia(Go, Search) | World Records Freshwater Fishing | Zoological Record

Estimates of some properties based on models

Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805):  PD50 = 0.5000   [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.00550 (0.00344 - 0.00879), b=3.11 (2.98 - 3.24), based on LWR estimates for this species & Genus-body shape (Ref. 93245).
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278):  4.5   ±0.4 se; Based on diet studies.
Resilience (Ref. 69278):  Medium, minimum population doubling time 1.4 - 4.4 years (K=0.18-0.4;tm=2-3; tmax=12).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153):  Moderate to high vulnerability (54 of 100) .
Price category (Ref. 80766):   Low.