The whiting is similar in appearance to its larger relatives the cod, the haddock, the coley and the pollack. It has three dorsal fins separated by small gaps, the third fin extending almost to the tail fin. The tail is not forked, having almost a square end. The two anal fins are very close together, nearly touching one another and, together with the anterior fin, are elongated. The pectoral fin is also long and projects beyond the base of the anal fin. The whiting's upper jaw projects slightly beyond the lower, and the lateral line is continuous along the length of the body. In colour, individual fish vary quite a lot, and there is often a small dark blotch at upper base of the pectoral fin.