Wolf eel Anarrhichthys ocellatus

Wolf eel

  Cold and temperate sea fish

Wolf eel Anarrhichthys ocellatus

Identity card

Wolf eel

Scientific name:
Anarrhichthys ocellatus
Year of description:
Ayres, 1855
IUCN Status:
Least Concern

Not Evaluated


North Pacific and North Atlantic Oceans as far as the Arctic Ocean.


In cold water, between 1 and 220 metres deep.


A male can grow up to 2.40 metres in length.


oursins, poissons, mollusques, crabes.


20 years

Wolf eel Anarrhichthys ocellatus

Wolf eels are monogamous and form a lifelong partnership!

In captivity, wolf eels pair up at around 4 years of age and breed at 7 years of age.

Once the eggs have been laid, the males and females take turns to wrap themselves around their eggs to protect them. The female rotates the eggs regularly until they hatch.

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Where is the animal to be found?

Adult wolf eels rarely leave their burrows and do not swim very often. They seek rocky shelters, whereas juveniles rise to the surface after hatching and swim in open water for 2 years. They then descend to the coastal depths to lead a sedentary life like their parents.

Therefore, the wolf eel lives close to the seabed, in cold water, at a depth of between 1 and 220 metres. It can be found in the North Pacific and North Atlantic Oceans and as far north as the icy Arctic Ocean. It can also be found in the cold waters of South America, along the coasts of Argentina and Chile.

How can it be recognised?

This fish is recognised by its elongated body and powerful jaw, which it uses to crush the sea urchins that it feeds on. Its powerful canines are constantly visible, even when the wolf eel closes its mouth. This gives it a slightly fearsome appearance, but the wolf eel is not dangerous to humans. A male can grow to 2.40 metres in length and weigh up to 18 kg.

What is distinctive about it?

The eggs of wolf eels are mainly preyed upon by rockfish. The eggs can also be found clinging in underwater kelp forests.

Where can I find it at Nausicaá?

Mankind and shores

Wolf eel Anarrhichthys ocellatus

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