Hello! I’m Barba the Burbot!
Common name: Burbot
Scientific Name: Lota lota of the Gadidae family
Also known as: lawyer, loche, eel pout, methy, lush, mud shark and lingcod, although lingcod is taxonomically incorrect. (“Lingcod are in the family Hexagrammidae, whereas burbot are in the Gadidae family.’)
Interesting fact: Burbot originates from the Latin word barba which means beard, which I have!
Interests: Swimming around on river and lake bottom in the cooler temperature. Feeling the ground with my beard like barb and scuttling around in the mud, gravel or silty river bottoms.
General: I enjoy eating a wide variety of insects and fish. I start out life enjoying many zoo-plankton and insects and as a I grow I prey on any smaller fish (whitefish, sculpins, lampreys and smaller burbot) and have been known to eat mice and shrews.
I don’t like to be around larger burbot or pike because they look at me like food, I also try to avoid otters, minks, and a variety of birds. But mostly it’s the human’s fishing lures I need to avoid, y tasty white flesh makes a great dinner.
Marital Status: Open relationship, not looking for anything serious or long term.
Hometown: Any cold freshwater locations in North America, Europe and Asia and southward to about 40 degrees north latitude.
Sexual Orientation: male to female but group activity is required.
Body Type: I have a long body with a flat scooped head and flat tummy for skimming the river beds. I have a wide jaw and a single barbell that hangs from my chin. I look like a mix between a lamprey and a catfish. I have multi colored dark spots ranging from olive, brown, black and even yellow. I have two dorsal fins, one short and low and the second much longer. My pectoral fins are fan shaped and my pelvic fins are elongated as is my anal fin and my caudal fin is very round. My scales are very small, almost microscopic, but my teeth are many and sharply slanted inward.
Children: As a young burbot I began to think about having children when I was about 18 inches long and that was between 5 and 7 years of age. Once of age I waited until late in the winter to go beneath the ice for some super spawning. The females can have hundreds of thousands of eggs in one spawning and can spawn multiple times, but may not always be consistent. The males will create groups of 4 or 5 and entangle with 2 or 3 females for the best spawning chances. The eggs and the milt will then free fall through the water to the bottom where the eggs will float about until hatching.
Occupation: SI’m a free loader and spend my time swimming slowly around in cooler calmer currants browsing for insects and smaller fish to prey upon.
Burbot(Lota lota). State of Alaska. Alaska Department of Fish and Game. 2016. Retrieved from: https://www.adfg.alaska.gov/index.cfm?adfg=burbot.main
The decline of the ‘disgusting’ burbot. bbc.com. British Broadcasting Corporation.