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Fish #193 Atlantic Wolffish Anarhichas lupus ~ Alison Rattigan
Acrylic and collage 40 x 60 cm
They are also known by other names including sea wolf, devil fish and sea cat. It is a marine fish from the wolffish family Anarhichadidae. Its numbers are rapidly depleting due to overfishing and bycatch and thus this is causing concern to the National Marine Fisheries Service. What's really cool about this fish is that they produce a natural anti-freeze to keep their blood moving fluidly in their very cold habitat. Both male and female are involved in brood bearing and they have large sized eggs compared to other fish their size.
Alison Rattigan, biog.
I am a Lincoln based Artist, who has spent the last 15 years trying to decide on which of the wonderful mediums that I have been exposed to, I would like to develop. I love the creativity and unusual wiring that hides in the head of the individual. I am a process driven artist, who loves experimenting, my interests are varied, but I especially like painting, printing, mural painting and lampshade making. I love meeting new people and learning new skills. How can you ever be bored???
Fish #193 Atlantic Wolffish Anarhichas lupus ~ Sarah Taylor
Ceramic, crank clay 40 x 27 x 10 cm
This fish is so named because of its teeth which resemble that of a wolf, with large canines at the front and molars at the rear for grinding food, which suit its diet. However it comes under many other names Wolf Eel, Sea Wolf, Sea Cat, Devil Fish, Ocean Catfish, Atlantic Catfish and Woof Fish. This fearsome looking fish, whilst edible, is not seen in its entirety on fish counters, normally being sold as fillets under names such as Scotch Halibut, Woof or Scarborough Woof. This fish is also used to produce a high quality fish oil and the Atlantic Wolffish skin is made into a type of leather in Iceland. This is from an Icelandic tradition of shoes being made from this skin. Wolffish leather is unique in being smooth with no scales unlike other fish that are used.
These are a potentially large breed of fish capable of growing up to 5ft in length and weighting 50lbs.
Externally they look much like an overgrown Blennie (Blennioidei). Because of their size they will take between eight to ten years to reach maturity at which time they also turn their blue colour. Their colouring is dependent on their environment and can be from slate blue to dull olive green. The breeding season takes place in the autumn and they are quite unusual in that the female lays fertilised eggs on the sea bed. The male then guards the nest until the eggs hatch which can vary from weeks to months.
Although not a fish that is intentionally targeted by trawlers they are often a by-product when caught up in the nets. It is not just the numbers of these fish being caught that is leading to their decline, but the very process of trawling is destroying their habitat, nests and breeding grounds.
The Atlantic wolfish is a solitary bottom dweller; living at depths of thirty metres and being a shy fish prefer a rocky sea bed with cracks and fissures in which to hide. Their diet consists of shellfish and crustaceans such as sea urchins, lobsters, starfish and prawns. Their diet is environmentally important in protecting the kelp beds which can become barren when the population of sea urchins becomes too great.
The United States National Marne Fisheries Service classifies it as being a "species of concern".
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