Topknot

Common Topknot

  • Scientific name: Zeugopterus punctatus
  • Also know as: Common Topknot
  • Size: Up to 25cm (UK shore caught typically 15-20cm)
  • UK minimum size: 20cm/8ins
  • UK shore caught record: 12oz 7dr
  • IUCN Status: NE (Not Evaulated)
  • Distribution: All around the UK and Ireland in rocky, heavy ground.
  • Feeds on: Crustaceans, marine worms, shellfish and very small fish.
  • Description: Small, left-sided flatfish that is almost completely round in shape. Mottled brown and white colour with light wide fins all the way round and has a very small tail.

The common topknot is a small, strange fish, and the only kind of flatfish that lives exclusively in rocky and broken ground, rather than the sandy ground that most flatfish prefer. The common topknot has an unusual ability – it can hang to vertical rocks using suction power and even stay upside down on overhanging rocks and on the inside of caves. Topknot are usually caught by anglers using small hooks to target little fish, or anglers who are specifically targeting small fish when taking part in LRF (Light Rock Fishing). Topknot will take most baits such as worms, fish strip and peeler crab. Like many mini species topknot seem to feed more during daylight hours. As it is a small and slow moving fish it relies on camouflage to avoid predators.

Technically the topknot is named the common topknot to differentiate it from the other two, much rarer species of topknot found in UK waters: the Norwegian topknot (Phrynorhombus norvegicus), which grows to 12cm, and Bloch’s topknot (Zeugopterus regius), which grows to 20cm.

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