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Black cod
Notothenia microlepidota (Black cod).gif
Drawing by Dr Tony Ayling
Scientific classification

Notothenia microlepidota, the black cod or small-scaled cod, is a species of notothen native to the Pacific waters around New Zealand and Macquarie Island. This species can reach a total length of 70 cm (28 in). It is a commercially important species.

The juveniles are silvery in appearance with a pronounced tail fork. The adult has a less pronounced fork in the tail, with body colors of silver, yellow, and reddish brown. The scales are very small, and the two lateral lines have a considerable overlap.

In the Campbell Plateau, salps are the most important prey, followed by amphipods(particularly Parathemisto gaudichaudii) and percophidids. Crabs such as the portunid crab Nectocarcinus bennetti are also important prey. These prey items imply benthic feeding habits, typical for notothenids.

Being a subantarctic species, the black cod has special adaptations such as antifreeze proteins in its blood, as well as adipose tissues to offset its lack of a swim bladder, giving it neutral buoyancy. The sablefish, Anoplopoma fimbria, is occasionally called black cod, as well, but it is not a true cod. In New Zealand, the Maori cod is also known as "black cod".

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