Spotted Hake

Urophycis regia

Picture of a spotted hake

Image by Robert Aguilar, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center, CC BY 2.0

Physical: Spotted hake are brown fish with a white belly and a small barbel on the chin. They have a dark lateral line down the length of the body, interspersed with white spots, from which the species gets its name. Another key characteristic is the small black tipped dorsal fin. The second dorsal fin and the anal (bottom) fin extend all the way back to the tail. Behind the gills are two long rays, also white. Adults can grow up to 16 in (40.6 cm).

Habitat: Their range spans from Massachusetts to Florida, and northeastern Gulf of Mexico. While they do not migrate from bay to bay, they do move to deeper waters by the continental shelf during winter. They are bottom dwelling fish, with a preference for rocky areas and vegetation. Juveniles live in estuaries.

Feeding: Spotted hake are ambush predators. They feed on crustaceans (shrimps, crabs), bony fish (including other hake), and squid.

Breeding: Spawning season lasts from July to February. Spotted hake spawn offshore.

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