Information from FAO Species Identification Guide Western Central Atlantic

Spotted hake - Urophycis regia


spotted hake

Diagnostic characters: Body moderately elongated, greatest depth about 5 in total length; head about 4.5 in total length. Eye about 6 times in head. Three gill rakers on upper limb of anterior gill arch. First dorsal fin with 8 or 9 rays, none prolonged; second dorsal fin with 46 to 51 rays; longest pelvic-fin ray reaching near or slightly beyond anterior end of anal fin. About 90 to 95 rows of scales along lateral line. Colour: brownish above and on sides, whitish on belly; lateral line dark with white spots at intervals; a large diffuse spot on operculum, a series of small dark spots on cheek; upper half of first dorsal fin black with white edging; second dorsal fin with irregular dark spots.

Size: To about 41 cm, commonly to about 17 cm.

Habitat, biology, and fisheries: Lives on or near bottom from near shore to depths 420 m; most abundant between 110 and 185 m;juveniles spend part of their lives in estuaries.Spawns in offshore waters from late summer to winter. Feeds primarily on crustaceans, but also fish and squid. Of limited commercial importance, taken in bottom trawls and with hook-and-line. Marketed fresh or used for fish meal.

Distribution:From somewhat north of Cape Cod south to Florida, and into the northeastern Gulf of Mexico.