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Female cod can lay up to 5 million eggs, most of which are eaten by other fish and sea life.

Cod is a saltwater fish, and "cod" is the common name for the bottom or bottom fish Gadus . The most common species are Atlantic cod and Pacific cod, which are close relatives. Both fish are popular foods with slightly different flavors, and the livers of both are used to make cod liver oil, a popular home remedy. Atlantic cod is listed as Vulnerable due to high demand.



4 Unbelievable Cod Facts!

  • Cod is carnivorous and eats other fish.
  • During mating season, they can travel up to 200 miles to their breeding grounds.
  • Females can lay up to 5 million eggs, most of which are eaten by other fish and sea life.
  • Humans are the only natural or natural enemies of cod.
Cod floating in the aquarium, Norway.
Cod are carnivorous, eating other fish, including their own species.

©Travel Faery/

scientific name

The term "cod" refers to the genus Gadus , but specifically to members of the Atlantic cod or cod family Gadidae and three related families of Gadiformes . Gadus includes eel, flounder, skate and pollock, and "cod" may refer to Atlantic cod, Pacific cod or any species of hake, cod, haddock and whiting. However, some species belonging to the cod genus, such as the Alaskan cod ( Gadus chalcogrammus), are not known as cod.

Many perciformes are also called "cod," although they are not true cod. These include blue cod ( Parapercis colias ), trout cod ( Maccullochella macquariensis ) and Antarctic cod ( Dissostichus mawsoni ), black cod ( Notothenia microlepidota ) and cod icefishes of the Maori cod ( Paranotothenia magellanica ) family.

Coral cod, reef cod and rock cod also belong to the order Perciformes. Many species are groupers, which belong to the same order but belong to the family Serranidae and the subfamily grouper. Haddock ( Melanogrammus aeglefinus ) and cod ( Merlangius merlangus ) both belong to the cod family and are sometimes sold as cod.

Big cod on a white background
"Codfish" refers to true cod, while "cod" can be a common name for both true cod and cod-like species.

© Krasowit/

Types of cod

The types of cod are:

  • Atlantic cod ( Gadus morhua ): This species is also known as haberdine, codling, scrod cod, sacred cod, market, or steaker.
  • Pacific cod ( Gadus macrocephalus ): This cod is also known as gray cod, gray cod, gray cod, Alaskan cod, true cod, or tara cod.
  • Alaskan cod ( Gadus chalcogrammus ): Closely related to Atlantic cod, often not known by the alternate names snow cod or walleye, but as wall cod.

Commonly known as ogac, Greenland cod ( Gadus ogac ) is considered a different species by some, but is also considered by many to be synonymous with Pacific cod.

Cod in the aquarium in Ålesund, Norway.
There are 3 recognized species of cod.

©Travel Faery/

evolution and origin

After migrating to the Pacific Ocean millions of years ago, Atlantic cod ancestors created Pacific cod and Alaskan cod. DNA sequencing of Atlantic, Arctic and Pacific cod types by scientists at the University of Iceland in 2019 showed that the evolutionary history of cod can be viewed as a connected network rather than a traditional tree. Scientists have discovered that Atlantic cod hybridized with species in the Arctic to form the Alaskan cod species, and that this cross produced genes that allow cod to easily adapt to new habitats and become dominant predators in the ecosystem.

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Cod has a long history as a worldwide commodity dating back to the Viking Age around 800 AD. The Norwegians developed a dried cod market in southern Europe for over 1000 years, while the Portuguese started fishing cod in the 1400s and were instrumental in establishing the cod market. In the New World, particularly in North America in Massachusetts and Newfoundland, cod was a commodity and established trade networks in the 1600s and 1700s. In the 1900s, Iceland reemerged as a major player in the cod market. In recent years, fishing in Europe and the United States has led to a significant decline in cod populations and has become a political issue.

norse mythology
Around the time of the Viking Age, cod began to be used as a commodity.



Cod has three rounded dorsal and two anal fins. Their pelvic fins are fairly small, with the first ray extending outward, just below the gill cover, or more commonly known as the throat area in front of the pectoral fins. Cod have an upper jaw above the lower jaw, and whisker-like tentacles on the lower jaw that serve as sensory organs for finding food.

Their eyes are medium-sized and about the same length as their chin barbels. Cod have a distinctive white lateral line that runs from the gill slit above the pectoral fin to the base of the caudal fin and is used to detect motion, vibration and pressure in the surrounding water.

The back of cod tends to be green to sandy brown and may have signs of spotting. This can often be seen on the whiter sides and near the belly. On top of the cod you can notice a dark brown color. Color may vary depending on where the cod comes from. Cod is usually greenish-brown in color, ranging from gray-green to reddish-brown, with a lighter underbelly and white underbelly.

They also have black spots on their flanks. Finally, structures in the skull called otoliths have visible rings, and the number of rings determines the cod's age.

Pacific cod are smaller and darker than Atlantic cod, weighing up to 50 lb (22.7 kg), with an average weight of 33 lb (15 kg). True to its nickname gray cod, it is brownish-gray in color. Atlantic cod can weigh up to 220 lb (100 kg) with an average of 212 lb (96 kg) and have a silvery subcutaneous layer and a yellow-green or red and olive body.

In length, they can be anywhere between 77-200 cm (30-79 in), averaging over a meter (51 in).

Atlantic cod, Gadus morhua, portrait, close-up
Atlantic cod can grow up to 220 lbs.

©Miroslav Halama/


Atlantic cod live in the deep, cold waters of the North Atlantic Ocean. Pacific cod live in the eastern and western parts of the North Pacific Ocean, including waters off Alaska and Russia. Both can be found at depths ranging from 20-200 feet, with Pacific cod at 900 meters (3,000 feet). As benthic fish, they live and forage on the bottom of the sea.

Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua)
Cod is found in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

©Vladimir Wrangel/


Cod are carnivorous and eat a variety of animals such as small fish (game fish or bait fish), crustaceans and invertebrates. Their diet included crab, haddock, lobster, mackerel, molluscs, mussels, sand eels, squid, cod, and worms. They can kill each other, as adults may prey on young cod.

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rock lobster
Cod eat a variety of animals, including lobsters.

© Gilmanshin/

Predators and Threats

Humans are the only natural enemy of cod, and cod are the top predators. Juvenile cod may also fall prey to adult cod.

fisherman in boat with cod
The only threat to cod is humans.

©Anton Petrus/

Reproduction, Babies and Longevity

The life cycle of cod begins with spawning. Cod are slow swimmers but can swim up to 200 miles to their breeding grounds during mating season. They can reproduce year-round, but migrate to warmer waters in spring and winter. Spawning occurs from January to April, with March and April being the peak periods. During this time, they have a depth range of 660 feet. Male cod will display their fins and purr as part of courtship.

Females can lay as many as 500 million eggs. After they lay eggs in batches, males compete to fertilize them. Eggs are vulnerable to the elements and most are eaten by other fish and sea life. The remaining 8-23 days hatch, and the larvae are transparent in appearance and only 0.16 inches in length.

After 10 weeks, they had increased 40-fold in size as they ate phytoplankton, zooplankton, and later small crustaceans. At 6 months, they reach a length of 3.1 inches (8 cm). They become sexually mature between 2 and 4 years old when they reach a length of 20 inches (50 cm).

The life cycle of cod follows egg, larva, larva to adult stages. Larvae are called fry, while young cod are called cod. Differences in the time it takes for adolescents to reach sexual maturity do not alter the basic life cycle. For example, cod in the northeastern Arctic can take up to eight years to fully mature.

Depending on the species, adult cod can live 13 or more years in the wild. For example, Atlantic cod can live 25 years in the wild, while Pacific cod typically live 20 years.

Juvenile cod on a reef wall
Young cod are called codlings.

© valda butterworth/

Population and Protection

Several different populations of each species were used to study biomass or the number of breeding females. Pacific cod is not overfished. However, due to overfishing in the late 20th century, Atlantic cod is listed as a vulnerable species by the IUCN, and its numbers have decreased significantly.

Reconstruction plans to target population levels include regulations and limited fishing status. Fishing for Pacific cod is also regulated by fishing trap quotas.

The IUCN lists Atlantic cod as a Vulnerable species.

©Tobias Arhelger/

Cod in Fishing and Cooking

Cod that is dried without salt is called cod. A more popular method of preservation is dry-salted cod, known as salt cod, salt cod, cured salt cod, or pinch. Pickled and then dried, also known as salted, suitable for long-term storage, exported all year round, and can also be incorporated into a variety of dishes.

The advent of salted fish made cod one of the most productive, profitable and important fish in European fisheries.

Salted fish is a specialty and the unique basis of many cod recipes around the world. A major export from the North Atlantic region, it is an ingredient in many Atlantic and Mediterranean cuisines, such as Spanish, Portuguese and Italian. For example, there are several cod stews and cod fritters (also known as salted fish fritters or salted cod cakes) that call exclusively for salted cod.

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There are also many dishes using common cod. Fish and chips are a popular example, originating in England. While cod is still preferred, many suppliers substitute rock salmon or white fish such as halibut, haddock or flounder.

Baked cod, pan fried cod, tacos, fish sticks, fish chowder, cod stew, and cod soup are other dishes that use common cod. The dense, white, flaky, mild-flavored flesh of cod is extremely versatile and completely interchangeable with other whitefish.

fish stick
Fish sticks are a popular way to eat cod.

© Banaszuk

In terms of nutrition, cod is the highest protein-per-calorie fish of both Atlantic and Pacific cod. Both also provide high amounts of B vitamins, phosphorus and selenium. Cod is so well known for its nutrition that a popular ancient home remedy is the use of cod liver oil for wounds, arthritis, depression and rickets.

Processed from two types of cod liver, this oil contains highly concentrated omega-3 fatty acids (EPA and DHA) and vitamins A, D and E.

Flavor-wise, there are subtle differences between the two species. Pacific cod has firm, thick flakes and a milder, saltier flavor. Atlantic cod has larger, sweeter, firmer and "crisper" flakes with a lower moisture content and a larger market size.

Americans are used to Pacific cod and Alaskan cod, while the British prefer Atlantic cod, and they call cod under 2.5 pounds.

freshly baked fish
Dense, white, flaky and mild-flavored cod is extremely versatile.


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Cod eat smaller fish, crustaceans, worms and invertebrates.

Cod live in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

Cod is a predatory saltwater fish of the genus Cod.

Yes, cod and cod can be used interchangeably. However, "codfish" refers to true cod, while "cod" can be a common name for both true cod and cod-like species.

What is the difference between Atlantic cod and Pacific cod?

Atlantic cod and Pacific cod are two closely related cod species that differ in appearance, nutrition and habitat area.

What is the difference between haddock and cod?

Cod is in the same family as haddock, which is in the family Atlantic cod, Atlantic cod, or true cod. Haddock is sometimes marketed as cod. Both are cold saltwater fish, but differ in appearance such as body size, body color, front dorsal fin, and lateral line. They also differ in taste, with cod having a milder, cleaner flavor and thicker, firmer fillets that are perfect for grilling and searing, while haddock has a fishy flavor and thinner, crisper fillets that are best for frying.

Cod have a lifespan of 15 to 25 years.

There are three types of cod: Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua), Pacific cod (Gadus macrocephalus) and Greenland cod (Gadus ogac).

The cod has a whisker-like vibrissae on its jaw that acts as a sensory organ for finding food.

Cod is also known as cod or hake.

The cod population is unknown.

Cod eat other fish and are cannibalistic, with adults preying on juveniles.

Cod spawn.

The main differences between salmon and cod include their size, fillet color, and fillet texture. Cod are bigger than salmon, 10 times their weight, and grow longer than they do in the wild.