Gadidae is a family of fishes in the order Gadiformes. The pelvic fins are in front of or below the pectoral fins. Dorsal fins two or three, rarely one. Anal fins one or two. Some have an unpaired antenna on the chin. 22 genera, including saiki, saithe, pollock, cod, whiting, saffron cod, haddock, etc., more than 50 species. Marine, cold-loving fish with a predominantly benthic lifestyle. Length from 30 cm to 2 m. Very fine scales. Inhabitant of cold, temperate, rarely tropical waters. With the exception of the burbot, all species are marine. Breeds in winter (saffron cod, saika) and winter-spring (cod). Bentophagous (haddock, saffron cod, saithe), planktophagous (saithe) and predatory (cod, saury).
Most Gadidae are gregarious, bottom-dwelling, relatively shallow-water fishes (down to 800 m depth), some pelagic (whiting) and cryopelagic (saika, Arctic cod). All large Gadidae are predatory or euryphagous. Some species undertake long (up to several thousand kilometres) foraging and spawning migrations (cod, southern whiting). Many species form aggregations. They spawn from a few thousand to 60 million eggs (cod, molva). Most eggs are pelagic, but some are benthic (saffron cod, Pacific cod).
Gadidae are of great commercial importance; the meat is lean (up to 1% fat) and the fat is rich in vitamins A and D, which are stored in the liver.