Ling, a European fish of the cod family, lota molva (Cuv.). The body is elongated, the head flat, the gape large, the lower jaw the shorter with a single barbule at the extremity; teeth in the upper jaw small and very numerous, a single larger and longer row below; scales small and firmly adherent; the dorsal fins of equal height, the first short but not pointed as in the hake, the second long, immediately behind the first, reaching nearly to the caudal, and most elevated posteriorly; anal nearly coextensive with the dorsal, and caudal rounded. The back and sides are gray, inclining to olive; the belly silvery; ventrals white, and dorsal and anal edged with the same; caudal marked near the end with a transverse black bar, and the extreme tip white. This is a very valuable species, and is caught in great numbers on the English and Irish coasts by hand and long lines; it is consumed fresh and salted, and is largely exported to southern Europe, forming an article of commerce almost as valuable as codfish; the sounds, roes, and oil from the livers are valuable, the latter for use in lamps and as an internal medicine in rheumatism. It is very prolific and voracious, feeding on any living thing coming in its way.
The best time for the fishery is between January and August, and the favorite resorts are the margins of rocky valleys in the ocean; it bites eagerly, and is readily caught. The usual length is about 3 or 4 ft. - Another species of lota, inhabiting the lakes and rivers of America from northern New York to the arctic regions, the L. maculosa (Lesueur), the codfish of the lakes or eel pout, is sometimes called ling in northern New England. The eel-shaped blenny (zoarces anguillaris, Peck), of the goby family, is also called ling by the Massachusetts fishermen. Other European gadoids of the genus motella, with a slightly elevated and delicate first dorsal, with a barbel on the chin and two or four on the upper jaw, are called rock ling; they frequent rocky ground well supplied with seaweed; though readily taking the bait, they are not much esteemed as food unless eaten very soon after they are caught; the length varies from 10 to 15 in.; the food consists of small fishes and thin-shelled Crustacea.
Ling (Lota molva).