• Blue ling

Latin name

Molva dypterygia

Other names

Blauwe leng (Dutch), Γλαυκοποντικόψαρο (Gljafkopondikopsaro) (Greek), Maruca azul (Spanish), Molva azzurra (Italian), Blauleng (German), Molwa niebieska (Polish), Maruca-azul (Portuguese), Голубая мольва (Russian), Morski manjić (Croatian, Serbian), Modri leng (Slovenian), Lingue bleue (French).


The body is elongated, slender with a narrow tail stock. The lower jaw is longer than the upper jaw and slightly protruding forward.  The height of the tail stock is less than 6 times the length of the head. The eyes are large, their diameter exceeding the length of the chin tendril.

Features of fish fins

Two dorsal fins. The first with a short base and 12-14 soft rays. The second dorsal fin is long with 69-83 soft rays reaching the tail peduncle. The anal fin has 70-81 soft rays. The pelvic fins are in front of the pectoral fins and their ends reach the ends of the pectoral fins. The caudal fin is rounded.

Fish colouring

The dorsum is grey to brown, the sides are lighter with a bluish-grey tinge and the belly is white with reddish-brown spots. The posterior parts of the dorsal, anal and caudal fins are black with a pale edge.


Widespread in the south-western part of the Barents Sea northwards to Svalbard and southern Greenland. Further south off the coast of Iceland, the British and Faroe Islands and as far south as Morocco. Marked in the western part of the Mediterranean Sea. In the north-west Atlantic they are found off Newfoundland.


Marine benthic fishes. They live on soft substrates at depths of 150 to 1000 m, more commonly 350 to 500 m.


Females grow faster than males, reaching 40 cm in their third year. At the age of 17, males can reach a length of 115 centimetres, and the maximum length of females at the age of 20 is 155 centimetres. The maximum weight is 30 kilos.


Spawns on the North Atlantic continental slopes off southern Iceland, west of the Faroe Islands and in Scotland at depths of 500 to 1,000 metres.

Food and feeding habits

Feeds on crustaceans and fish (flounder, cod, goby). 


Males reach sexual maturity at 9 years with a body length of 75 cm, females at 11 years with a body length of 88 cm. Spawns at depths of 500 to 1000 m from April to September with a peak in May. Eggs and larvae are pelagic.


The fishery is small and is fished with bottom trawls and longlines. The fish has light, firm and lean flesh with few bones.

Phylum Chordata
Class Actinopterygii
Squad Gadiformes
Family Lotidae
Genus Molva
Species M. dypterygia
Conservation status No information
Habitat Bottom
Life span, years No information
Maximum body weight, kg 30
Maximum length, cm 155
Sailing speed, m/s No information
Threat to people Edible
Way of eating Predator

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