|Image: Chad King (SIMoN / MBNMS)|
We're taking a look at Wolf Eels and Wolffish, the 5 species within the Anarhichadidae family.
|Image: Norm Despres|
Atlantic Wolffish (Anarhichas lupus)
It's a unique sort of ugly, though. Certainly for a fish. The short snout and round head suggests something more humanoid than fish. It all looks much more like an advanced stage of the "Innsmouth look". I see that head poking out of its cavern and I can't help but see a fish-man peering out the window of his underwater hovel.
|Image: Chris Wilson|
Wolf Eel (Anarrhichthys ocellatus)
STOP THE SPINACH
|Image: Chris Wilson|
This is why they call it an eel
The Wolf Eel is also the only Wolffish in its genus, the other four all belong to Anarhichas. They're more squat and less eel-like than the Wolf Eel so while the Wolf Eel sits glowering from its cave like a Moray Eel, the others do so more like an unusually furious Blenny.
Other Wolffish aren't so long
The Bering Wolffish is the smallest of them all at a bit more than 1 metre (3.3 ft) long and it has a strange distribution in both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. One can only assume that it's a Werewolffish which walks across North America every full moon, embarking on all manner of adventures along the way. Whether or not these adventures have hilarious results is impossible to say.
|Image: Kelly The Deluded|
|Image: Eirik Mikkelsen|
Needless to say, they can give a painful bite to any human! It wouldn't even be a challenge, what with our soft, yielding flesh that breaks apart if it catches a sheet a paper at a bad angle. A sheet of paper! And that's actually true. We are SO FLIMSY.
Thankfully, Wolffish are remarkably magnanimous in their dealings with humans. They're quite friendly so long as you don't try and break into their home. Much like people, in fact.
You can hand feed them or tickle them behind the ears and be reasonably certain of retaining all your fingers. Don't try that with humans. I once tried to tickle some guy behind the ears and he just went bananas. Humans are very protective of their ears.
Wolffish, on the other hand, are protective of their eggs.
|Image: Dan Hershman|
Growing old together
And they'll love those eggs just as their parents did, because they have a face only a mother could love.