When fish have antlers

18 April 2016 | Posted in Graeme Lyons , fish , Marine
When fish have antlers
tompot blenny / Graeme Lyons

By Graeme Lyons

Senior Ecologist

At last! I've finally made contact with tompot blenny, my 80th species of fish in the UK. I always wondered if I would be able to recognise them easily and the answer is yes, even when you turn the rocks over, they stand out a mile from the much commoner shanny. Obviously, the big difference is that they are found much further from the shore (last night was the spring tide of the year). Also, they are slightly reddish (lacking the greenish colour of the shanny), on average larger, more tiger-striped and variegated, they have a higher dorsal fin and more obviously, two great big weird antennae/antler things sticking out of their heads! We saw six in all, all recognisable without having to catch them. Here are a few more shots.

We also saw on this Sussex Shoresearch event: common goby, rock goby, butterfish and shanny. Nice to see some green sea urchins and a white tortoiseshell limpet Tectura virginea too.

If you would like to learn more about seashore wildlife, there is a Seashore Identification course on Sunday 15 May.

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