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The Seashore

Lumpsucker (Cyclopterus lumpus)


A young lumpsucker attached to a rock

This is a very broad, solid fish growing up to almost a half a metre. The young found on the seashore tend to be small, just a few centimetres. They are green but as they age so they develop a very bright red belly (when breeding) and grey blue upper surface. A large sucker is formed from the pelvic fins. These are bottom dwellers and can tolerate wave action by attaching firmly to a rock using the pelvic sucker. They feed on small fish, worms and crustaceans. Lumpsuckers have definite spawning grounds near the coast and they may migrate for weeks to return to these haunts. They have a tendency to go far out to sea during the winter. They can cover hundreds of miles and on these journeys they feed on a different diet, Comb Jellies/ Sea Gooseberry. Spawning occurs on the seashore. The males bright colour attracts the female and they can stay together for some days. After releasing the sperm and eggs the male broods the fertilised eggs. There can be clusters of several thousand eggs and they are highly sought after by other fish because of their high yolk content. He is very protective and this takes up to six weeks.

The Lumpsucker is caught by humans and the eggs sold as a form of caviar.

Found in the extreme lower rocky seashore where wave action can be strong. They are primarily a bottom dweller, amongst seaweeds and rocks. The distribution extends from the Bay of Biscay to Scandinavia .


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