Arctic cod are thought to range farther north than any other fish. Inhabiting arctic waters circling the pole, they seem to prefer colder temperatures (0 to 4 degrees C), though they are occasionally found in warmer regions. In Canadian waters, Arctic cod are generally distributed from the Beaufort Sea to the Grand Banks. Occasionally, they have been known to stray into the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
Arctic cod can be distinguished from their warm-water cousins by their elongated body and protruding lower jaw, as well as their v-shaped tail. They are considerably smaller than other cod, growing to only about 30 centimetres in length. They also tend to be smaller the farther south they are found. They have brown backs spotted with black, silvery sides and bellies, and pale lateral lines running along each side of the body from head to tail. Their scales are very small.
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