Pacific tomcod (Microgadus proximus)

Category: Fish
Related species groups: Codfish

Description and Range

Physical description

Pacific Tomcod have slender, elongated bodies that are covered in small, thin scales. They range in color from olive green to brownish above, and creamy white below. The fins have dusky tips. This species also has a small barbel on the chin, and characteristic of members of the cod family, they have three dorsal fins and two anal fins.

Pacific Tomcod may be confused with small Pacific Cod and Walleye Pollock, though they can be distinguished from the other two species by their barbel length, which is less than one-half the diameter of their eye. Pacific Cod have a barbel as long as the diameter of the eye and Walleye Pollock have no barbel.

Pacific Tomcod can grow to at least 30 cm (12 in) in length and 344 g (0.8 lb) in weight.

Geographic range

Pacific Tomcod can be found from the Bering Sea to Point Sal, California. This species is a schooling fish that often lives on or near soft seafloors. As adults Pacific Tomcod are found from the surf zone down to 275 m (902 ft).