Long spined sea scorpion

Long spined sea scorpion by Polly Whyte

Long spined sea scorpion

Scientific name: Taurulus bubalis
Masters of disguise, this species exhibits one of the best examples of camouflage you will find on the seashore!

Species information

Statistics

Up to 20cm long

Conservation status

Common

When to see

April to October

About

This colourful fish gets its name from the long spines attached to various parts of its body. This fish has amazing mottled colouration and can change its colouration to blend in perfectly with its background. A top predator it gulps up crabs and fish with its huge mouth. However it may also find itself prey for cuttlefish!

How to identify

Long spined sea scorpion has a large, bulbous head with a distinctive small barbel in each corner of the mouth. The body tapers down towards the tail, with large pectoral fins which sit behind the head. Colouration is usually mottled with pink, red and sandy blotches. This this species can adapt and blend in perfectly with the surrounding algae and encrusting organisms.

Distribution

Common around the UK and the North East Atlantic

Did you know?

Unlike the Mediterranean scorpion fish, this species is not venomous.

How people can help

Always follow the Seashore Code when rockpooling, taking care where you walk and making sure you put animals and rocks back gently. Report any sightings to your local Wildlife Trust.