The fish matures at between three and four years of age, and spawning takes place at a depth of 20 to150m. The time of the spawning varies from location to location: from January to spring in the Mediterranean; from January to September in the area between the British Isles and the Bay of Biscay; and throughout the year in the Black Sea. A large female can produce up to one million eggs. The eggs float in the open ocean and the larval whiting swim with other sea plankton until they have attained a length of around 10 cm. The fish grow quickly, with females growing faster than males, and can live to about ten years of age. The diet of the whiting consists of bottom-living organisms, such as crabs, shrimps, small fish, molluscs, worms, squid and cuttlefish.