Blue ling (Molva dypterygia)

Distribution data supplied by the Ocean Biodiversity Information System (OBIS). To interrogate UK data visit the NBN Atlas.Map Help



Molva dypterygia is a member of the cod-like family. It has a very elongate slender body, up to 1.5 m in length, and a small and narrow head. It has two dorsal fins, the first of which is short, the second is long and runs continuously from the beginning of the tail fin to two thirds of the body length. The anal fin is also long and continuous but shorter than the dorsal fin. The tail fin is concave to rounded in shape. The upper body is grey-brown in colour, grading to white underneath.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

Found off the west and south-west coasts of Ireland.

Global distribution



The blue ling is a demersal species usually found on the continental slopes at depths between 300-500 m, often on muddy bottoms.

Depth range


Identifying features

  • Very elongate body up to 1.5 m in length.
  • First dorsal fin is short.
  • Second dorsal fin and anal fin long and continuous.
  • No spiny rays on fins.
  • Posterior portions of vertical fins have pale margins.
  • Lower jaw projects beyond upper.
  • Barbel shorter than the eye unlike Molva molva.

Additional information

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  1. Ehrich, S. & Reinsch, H.H. 1985. Bestandskundliche Untersuchungen am Blauleng (Molva dypterygia dypt.) in den Gewassern westlich der Britischen Inseln. Archiv fur Fischereiwissenschaft, 36, 97-113

  2. Froese, R. & Pauly, D., 2007. Fishbase. A global information system on fishes. [On-line], 2008-02-18

  3. Howson, C.M. & Picton, B.E., 1997. The species directory of the marine fauna and flora of the British Isles and surrounding seas. Belfast: Ulster Museum. [Ulster Museum publication, no. 276.]

  4. Muus, B.J. & Dahlstrom, P., 1974. Collins guide to the sea fishes of Britain and North-Western Europe. Wm Collins Sons & Co. Ltd: London.

  5. Whitehead, P.J.P., Bauchot, M.-L., Hureau, J.-C., Nielson, J. & Tortonese, E. 1986. Fishes of the North-eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean. Vol. I, II & III. Paris: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).


  1. NBN (National Biodiversity Network) Atlas. Available from:

  2. OBIS (Ocean Biodiversity Information System),  2024. Global map of species distribution using gridded data. Available from: Ocean Biogeographic Information System. Accessed: 2024-06-23


This review can be cited as:

Barnes, M.K.S. 2008. Molva dypterygia Blue ling. In Tyler-Walters H. and Hiscock K. Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Reviews, [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. [cited 23-06-2024]. Available from:

Last Updated: 22/05/2008