The whiting fish, or Merlangius merlangus, has a silvery flesh and a distinctive black spot on its pectoral fin. It has a chin barbel, which a fleshy filament growing from the mouth or snout, that is very small if present. The whiting also has two anal fins and three dorsal fins.
The whiting, with its pointed nose and protruding upper jaw, typically grows up to 28 inches. Its three dorsal fins are separated along its back, while the last dorsal fin almost extending to the tail fin. The tail fin is square in appearance, created by two anal fins that are nearly touching to create an elongated rear fin. The pectoral fin with its distinctive black spot is also elongated at the base of the body and projects from the anal fin.
The whiting is related to the cod, coley, pollack and the haddock families, all of which are similar in appearance. This species is commonly found in various saltwater locations around the world, including the eastern Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea, and the North Sea on the east coast of Britain. Although a number of species are commonly referred to as the whiting, the Merlangius merlangus is where the term originated.