greenling, common name for any of several species of carnivorous, spiny-finned fishes of the family Hexagrammidae, common in the Pacific Ocean, especially in the waters N of Monterey, Calif. Greenlings have fleshy flaps on the top of the head. They are found in kelp beds and among rocks, and are also called rock trout. Several species grow to a length of 20 in. (50 cm) and are valued as game fishes. Most important of the greenlings is the Okhotsk atka mackerel, found in the Sea of Okhotsk; it is a handsome food fish with striking vertical stripes, as is the closely related atka mackerel of Alaska. The ling cod, found from Alaska to Baja California, is a popular game and food fish. The kelp greenling is unusual in that the male and female exhibit different coloration and markings, a rare phenomenon among fish. Greenlings are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Actinopterygii, order Scorpaeniformes, family Hexagrammidae.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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