Black cod

Black cod

The related Paranotothenia magellanica (Maori cod, Magellanic rockcod) is sometimes called "black cod" too.

The black cod or smallscaled cod, Notothenia microlepidota, is a marine cod icefish in the genus Notothenia with distribution ranging from southern New Zealand to sub-Antarctic seas, although they have also been fished off the Great Australian Bight, Chile, and round the Falkland Islands, on rocky reefs. Their length is between 25 and 70 cm, and they may weigh up to 3 kg.

The juveniles are silvery in appearance with a pronounced tail fork. The adult has a less pronounced fork in the tail, with body colors of silver, yellow and reddish-brown. The scales are very small, and there are two lateral lines which have a considerable overlap.

Being a sub-Antarctic species, the black cod has special adaptations such as antifreeze proteins in its blood, as well as adipose tissues to offset its lack of swim bladders, giving it neutral buoyancy.

It should be noted that sablefish, Anoplopoma fimbria, is occasionally called black cod as well, but it is not a true cod. In New Zealand, Maori Cod is also known as "black cod".

The black cod is unrelated to the true cod, and gets its name from the fact that it is a food fish. It is tasty to eat, and is commercially fished.


  • Tony Ayling & Geoffrey Cox, Collins Guide to the Sea Fishes of New Zealand, (William Collins Publishers Ltd, Auckland, New Zealand 1982) ISBN 0-00-216987-8

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