Latin name

Eleginus gracilis

Other names

Wachna cod, Pacific navaga.


The lower jaw is shorter than the upper jaw, there is a chin tendril whose length does not exceed half the diameter of the eye. The distance between the second and third dorsal fins is equal to or greater than the diameter of the eye. The lateral line is curved forward and ends below the second dorsal fin. Head without lateral line pores. Paraphyses expanded, swollen and hollow, beginning at about the centre of the 9th or 10th vertebra, containing protrusions of the swim bladder. Second pelvic ray formed. Caudal end truncated or slightly pointed. 

Features of fish fins

Dorsal spines (total): 0; Dorsal soft rays (total): 44-59; Anal spines: 0; Anal soft rays: 39-47; Vertebrae: 57-64. Distinguished by the presence of 3 dorsal and 2 anal soft rays.

Fish colouring

Upper part grayish brown, upper part of sides paler, sometimes with a silvery-violet tinge, often flecked with faint dark spots. Underside and belly yellowish to silvery white. Fins are dark, dorsal and caudal with white edges.


It inhabits the coastal areas of the Sea of Japan, the Sea of Okhotsk, the Bering Sea and the Chukchi Sea. 


Cold-loving benthic fish. Found in shallow coastal waters. Enters rivers and can travel considerable distances upstream, but usually remains within the tidal influence zone. 


Maximum length is 55 cm, usually 25-35 cm, body mass up to 1.3 kg. Maximum reported age: 15 years.


Its feeding period takes place in summer at depths of 30-60 metres. In the autumn-winter period, schools of fish move to the shores to breed. Some shoals even enter lakes and estuaries.

Food and feeding habits

It feeds on a variety of worms, crustaceans, eggs and young of other fish. 


Matures in the second or third year of life. Spawns in January-March at bottom water temperatures of -0.5 to -1.9°C. The female lays 4.9-680 thousand eggs, which adhere lightly to underwater objects. As the juveniles grow, they become more visible to predators and sometimes have to seek refuge under the dome of the jellyfish Cyaneas and Aurelias.


It is a valuable commercial fish, and under-ice recreational fishing is also common.

Relationship with a person

In late autumn and winter, saffron cod tastes good, which is not the case with spring and summer fish.

Phylum Chordata
Class Actinopterygii
Squad Gadiformes
Family Gadidae
Genus Eleginus
Species E. gracilis
Conservation status No information
Habitat Bottom
Life span, years 15
Maximum body weight, kg 1,3
Maximum length, cm 35
Sailing speed, m/s No information
Threat to people Edible
Way of eating Predator

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Saffron cod

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