Common name: Rocklings


Codlike fishes with three dorsal fins, the first a single thickened ray, the second a row of low fleshy filaments followed by a long-based third dorsal fin. Rocklings were previously placed in the Family Gadidae.

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Cite this page as:
Dianne J. Bray, Rocklings, PHYCIDAE in Fishes of Australia, accessed 01 Dec 2022,

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Family Taxonomy

Subfamily Gaidropsarinae includes 3 genera and 13 species; a single species, Gaidropsarus novaezealandiae, in Australian waters.

Family Distribution

Mostly in temperate North Atlantic waters, including Mediterranean Sea, a few in Southern Hemisphere off Australia, New Zealand, Japan and South Africa; benthic, mostly on soft bottoms, on the continental shelf and slope, from inshore waters to 650 m.

Family Description

Codlike fishes with three barely separable dorsal fins, the first a single elongate thickened ray, followed a row of short fleshy unsegmented filamentous rays, then a long-based third fin with segmented rays; anal fin single, long-based; pelvic fins sometimes with two elongate rays, caudal fin separate; snout with 2-4 distinct barbels (plus rudimentary barbels in some), chin barbel well-developed. Lateral line interrupted along its entire length.

Family Size

to 1.8 m.

Family Feeding

Known to feed on fishes, crustaceans (including krill), polychaete worms and algae.

Family Reproduction

Eggs pelagic, spherical, smooth with large pits, small, diameter less than 1 mm, single oil globule, yolk homogenous. Larvae pelagic, elongate, gut coiled, eyes round, lower jaw with barbels; pelvic fins form early; transformation to juvenile stage gradual. Larvae of Gaidropsarus have prominent posttemporal spines.

Family Commercial

Some species of minor commercial importance, caught as bycatch in trawl, longline fisheries, gill nets, traps and handlines; marketed fresh and as fish meal.


Dianne J. Bray


Cohen, D.M. 1990. Families Bregmacerotidae, Euclichthyidae, Gadidae, pp. 16-89 In Cohen, D.M., T. Inada, T. Iwamoto & N. Scialabba (eds.) FAO species catalogue. Vol. 10. Gadiform fishes of the world (order Gadiformes). An annotated and illustrated catalogue of cods, hakes, grenadiers and other gadiform fishes known to date. FAO Fish. Synop. No. 125, 10: i-x + 1-442.

Comyns, B.H. & P.J. Bond. 2006. Phycidae: Phycid hakes, pp. 639, In W.J. Richards (ed). Early Stages Of Atlantic Fishes: An Identification Guide For The Western Central North Atlantic. CRC Press, Taylor and Francis Group, Boca Raton, FL, 2640 pp.

Howes, G.J. 1991. Anatomy, phylogeny and taxonomy of the gadoid fish genus Macruronus G√ľnther, 1873, with a revised hypothesis of gadoid phylogeny. Bull. Br. Mus. (Nat. Hist.) Zool. 57(1): 77-110.

Markle, D.F. 1989. Aspectes of character homology and phylogeny of the Gadiformes. Pp. 59-88 In Cohen, D.M. (ed.) Papers on the systematics of gadiform fishes. Sci. Ser., Nat. Hist. Mus. Los Angeles Co. 32: 1-262.