Mallotus villosus, Capelin : fisheries

You can sponsor this page

Mallotus villosus (Müller 1776)

Add your observation in Fish Watcher
Native range | All suitable habitat | Point map | Year 2100
This map was computer-generated and has not yet been reviewed.
Mallotus villosus   AquaMaps   Data sources: GBIF OBIS
Upload your photos and videos
Pictures | Videos |     Google image
Image of Mallotus villosus (Capelin)
Mallotus villosus
Female picture by Armesto, A.

Classification / Names Common names | Synonyms | Catalog of Fishes (gen., sp.) | ITIS | CoL | WoRMS | Cloffa

Actinopteri (ray-finned fishes) > Osmeriformes (Freshwater smelts) > Osmeridae (Smelts)
Etymology: Mallotus: Greek for fleecy, derived from mallos = wool, and -otus = a Greek adjectival suffix referring to property; referring to the shape of the scales along the side of breeding males, appearing hairy or fleecy (S.Kullander, pers. Comm.).;  villosus: From the Latin 'villosus' meaning hairy - refers to the rough extruded scales on spawning males.

Environment: milieu / climate zone / depth range / distribution range Ecology

Marine; freshwater; brackish; pelagic-oceanic; anadromous (Ref. 46888); depth range 0 - 725 m (Ref. 58426), usually ? - 200 m (Ref. 96339).   Polar; 84°N - 37°N, 180°W - 180°E (Ref. 54574)

Distribution Countries | FAO areas | Ecosystems | Occurrences | Point map | Introductions | Faunafri

Circumpolar in the Arctic. North Atlantic: Barents Sea up to Bear Island, in the White and Norwegian seas, off the coast of Greenland up to 74°N and from Hudson Bay in Canada to Gulf of Maine, USA. North Pacific: south to Korea and Juan de Fuca Strait, Canada.

Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age

Maturity: Lm 13.5, range 15 - 19 cm
Max length : 20.0 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 11626); 25.2 cm TL (female); common length : 15.0 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 4645); max. published weight: 52.00 g (Ref. 56475); max. reported age: 10 years (Ref. 72498)

Short description Morphology | Morphometrics

Dorsal spines (total): 0; Dorsal soft rays (total): 10-14; Anal spines: 0; Anal soft rays: 16 - 23; Vertebrae: 62 - 73. Adipose with long base, about 1.5 times as long as the orbit or longer, outer margin only slightly curved (Ref. 6885). Olive green on dorsal surface, merging into silvery on sides and ventral surface (Ref. 6885).

Biology     Glossary (e.g. epibenthic)

Oceanic species found in schools (Ref. 2850). Nerito-pelagic (Ref. 58426); however, reported at 1086 m Davis Strait to southern Baffin Bay (Ref. 120413). Adults feed on planktonic crustaceans, copepods, euphausiids, amphipods, marine worms, and small fishes (Ref. 6885, 35388). Mature individuals move inshore in large schools to spawn (Ref. 2850). In the spring large spawning shoals migrate toward the coasts, males usually arrive first. Often entering brackish and freshwater (Ref. 37812). Semelparous (Ref. 51846). Produces 6,000-12,000 adhesive eggs. Females are valued for their roe, males are utilized as fishmeal. Marketed canned and frozen; eaten fried and dried (Ref. 9988). Possibly to 725 m depth (Ref. 6793).

Life cycle and mating behavior Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae

Reproductive strategy: synchronous ovarian organization, determinate fecundity (Ref. 51846). Experimental testing suggests facultative semelparity, with offshore-spawning capelin being absolute semelparous (death of both genders) and beach-spawning capelin being iteroparous irrespective of sex (Ref. 92136). Also Ref. 92150.

Main reference Upload your references | References | Coordinator | Collaborators

Eschmeyer, W.N., E.S. Herald and H. Hammann, 1983. A field guide to Pacific coast fishes of North America. Boston (MA, USA): Houghton Mifflin Company. xii+336 p. (Ref. 2850)

IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 123251)

CITES (Ref. 123416)

Not Evaluated

CMS (Ref. 116361)

Not Evaluated

Threat to humans


Human uses

Fisheries: highly commercial
FAO(fisheries: production, species profile; publication : search) | FIRMS (Stock assessments) | FishSource | Sea Around Us

More information

Aquaculture profile
Allele frequencies
Mass conversion
Stamps, Coins Misc.
Swim. type
Gill area


Special reports

Download XML

Internet sources

Aquatic Commons | BHL | Cloffa | Websites from users | Check FishWatcher | CISTI | Catalog of Fishes (gen., sp.) | DiscoverLife | ECOTOX | Faunafri | Fishipedia | Fishtrace | GenBank(genome, nucleotide) | GloBI | Google Books | Google Scholar | Google | IGFA World Record | MitoFish | Otolith Atlas of Taiwan Fishes | PubMed | Reef Life Survey | Socotra Atlas | Tree of Life | Wikipedia(Go, Search) | World Records Freshwater Fishing | Zoological Record

Estimates based on models

Preferred temperature (Ref. 115969): 0.3 - 7.1, mean 2.7 °C (based on 956 cells).
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805):  PD50 = 1.0000   [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.00372 (0.00271 - 0.00510), b=3.19 (3.10 - 3.28), in cm total length, based on LWR estimates for this species (Ref. 93245).
Trophic level (Ref. 69278):  3.2   ±0.1 se; based on diet studies.
Resilience (Ref. 120179):  Medium, minimum population doubling time 1.4 - 4.4 years (K=0.3-0.5; tm=3; tmax=10; Fec=6,000).
Prior r = 0.41, 95% CL = 0.27 - 0.62, Based on 9 stock assessments.
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153):  Low to moderate vulnerability (27 of 100) .
Price category (Ref. 80766):   Low.