About This Fish


The hapuka (Polyprion oxygeneios) is a perch like ray finned fish which is also known as whapuku. It belongs to family Polyprionidae under order Perciformes of Class Actinopterygii. It is found around southern Australia, Chile, Tristan da Cunha, and New Zealand. Adult occurs generally over rough ground from the central shelf about 100 meters to the shelf edge and down to the upper slope. Juveniles are found in surface waters, perhaps school in association with drifting weed.

The hapuka is broadly angular on posterior side with an obvious ridge that ends in a strong spine and the body is covered with quite small scales. It is grey in color with a silvery white underbelly while juvenile is generally blue in color. Dorsal fin has 9-12 spines with 12 soft rays while anal fin with 3 spines and 7-9 soft rays. It has a large powerful square shaped tail. Its lower jaw is larger than upper jaw and its eye is very large. Finlets are elongated with white firm flesh and is tapered gently. It is a voracious predator which feeds on a large range of other fish species including red cod and blue cod, hoki, and invertebrates such as crabs and crayfish and is preyed upon by sperm whales. It grows up to 180 cm in length and 100 kg in weight. It attains sexual maturity at the age between 10 and 13 years. It is a large, slow growing and long lived fish which can live up to 60 years. It is excellent for eating.

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