Lingcod, Ophiodon elongatus

About this species

After lingcod eggs are deposited and fertilized, females leave the nesting site while the male fish guards the eggs until they hatch.

Hexagrammidae, a family of greenlings (not cods!)

Western Gulf of Alaska to Baja California in Mexico


Lingcod are a carnivorous fish that vary in size and color. Adults are generally brownish-green with clusters of copper or dark brown blotches. They are typically 2 to 3 feet long when they reach maturity, but the largest lingcod observed was 5 feet long.

Habitat & Behavior

Lingcod can be found in nearshore rocky reefs. Most lingcod spend the majority of their adulthood within their home reef. They are aggressive predators and prey on crabs, octopus, and many species of fish, including salmon, rockfish, and even other lingcod!

About this map

The bright yellow areas in this map show reef habitat that is more suitable for lingcod, while dark blue areas are less suitable. Researchers modeled suitability across all currently known reefs in the Southern California Bight (the dashed gray line shows the extent of the modeled area). The model has a spatial resolution of 200 meters and includes areas shallower than or equal to 45 meters deep.

Dark brown and copper blotches cover the sides of lingcod (Photo © Jonathan Williams)

Data source: Species distribution model derived from Zellmer et al. 2019 in Frontiers in Marine Science, 6. [link]

Acknowledgements: We would like to thank Amanda J. Zellmer for generously sharing this coastal marine biodiversity data.

Alaska Department of Fish and Game. Lingcod Species Profile. [link]
Animal Diversity Web. “Ophiodon elongatus.” [link]