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Species: Merluccius gayi, South Pacific hake

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head 26-32% SL
D2 36-42
gill rakers 18-25

Merluccius gayi (Guichenot, 1848)


South Pacific hake


Body elongate, compressed, tapering to a narrow tail base; head long (26-32% of SL), flattened, with a V shape crest on top; large eyes and mouth, lower jaw slightly projecting; jaw teeth long, strong and pointed, in 2 irregular rows; teeth on center but not sides of roof of mouth; 18-25 gill rakers; 2 separate dorsal fins, the 1st  shorter and triangular (I, 9-12), the 2nd  with a long base and partly divided by a notch, 36-42 rays; anal fin similar to 2nd  dorsal fin, 36-42; well developed, non filamentous pelvic fins, 7 rays, situated before the pectorals; tail fin short, slightly forked; scales small, 106-130 on the lateral line.

Color: Back metallic blue; flanks silvery.

Size: 87cm.

Habitat: pelagic.

Depth: 50-500 m.

Chile to Ecuador and the Galapagos.

Note: M. gayi includes two subspecies; M. G. peruanus from Peru, and M. g. gayi, from Chile.

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  • Marine Only
  • Marine
  • Inshore
  • In & Offshore
  • Offshore
Water Column Position
  • Near Surface
  • Near Bottom
  • Water column only
  • Mid Water
  • Water column
FishBase Habitat
  • Bathypelagic
Feeding Group
  • No Data
  • Carnivore
  • Octopus/squid/cuttlefish
  • Pelagic crustacea
  • Data
  • Bony fishes
Egg Type
  • Pelagic larva
  • No data
  • Pelagic
Global Endemism
  • All species
  • East Pacific endemic
  • TEP non-endemic
Regional Endemism
  • Temperate Eastern Pacific, primarily
  • Island (s)
  • Peruvian province, primarily
  • All species
  • Tropical Eastern Pacific (TEP) non-endemic
  • Continent + Island (s)
  • Continent
  • Resident
Climate Zone
  • Equatorial (Costa Rica to Ecuador + Galapagos, Clipperton, Cocos, Malpelo)
  • South Temperate (Peruvian Province )
IUCN Red List
  • Listed
  • Data deficient
  • Not listed
Length Max
  • 87
Depth Range Min
  • 50
Depth Range Max
  • 500