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Mallotus villosus  (Müller, 1776)

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

Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Osmeriformes (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 / Climate / Range Ecology

Marine; freshwater; brackish; pelagic-oceanic; anadromous (Ref. 46888); depth range 0 - 725 m (Ref. 58426), usually ? - 200 m (Ref. 96339).   Polar; 79°N - 40°N, 180°W - 180°E (Ref. 54574)

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).

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.

Biology     Glossary (e.g. epibenthic)

Oceanic species found in schools (Ref. 2850). Nerito-pelagic (Ref. 58426). 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).

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. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, U.S.A. 336 p. (Ref. 2850)

IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 96402)

CITES (Ref. 94142)

Not Evaluated

Threat to humans


Human uses

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

More information

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


Special reports

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Internet sources

BHL | Cloffa | Websites from users | Check FishWatcher | CISTI | Catalog of Fishes (gen., sp.) | DiscoverLife | ECOTOX | Faunafri | Fishtrace | GenBank(genome, nucleotide) | GOBASE | Google Books | Google Scholar | Google | IGFA World Record | iSpecies | PubMed | Scirus | SeaLifeBase | Tree of Life | uBio | Wikipedia(Go, Search) | World Records Freshwater Fishing | Zoological Record

Estimates of some properties based on models

Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805):  PD50 = 1.0000   [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.00398 (0.00221 - 0.00716), b=3.12 (2.95 - 3.29), based on LWR estimates for species & (Sub)family-body shape (Ref. 93245).
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278):  3.2   ±0.1 se; Based on diet studies.
Resilience (Ref. 69278):  Medium, minimum population doubling time 1.4 - 4.4 years (K=0.3-0.5; tm=3; tmax=10; Fec=6,000).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153):  Low vulnerability (23 of 100) .
Price category (Ref. 80766):   Low.