Tompot Blenny

Tompot Blenny
  • Scientific name: Parablennius gattorugine
  • Size: up to 10ins in length
  • UK minimum size: 8ins/20cm
  • UK shore caught record: 162 grams
  • IUCN Status: LC (Least Concern)
  • Distribution: Found around the UK and Ireland but more common around the southern coasts. Also distributed throughout European waters.
  • Feeds on: Small crustaceans, prawns and sea anemones.
  • Description: Small fish with a large head with eyes located at the top. Prominent pectoral fins and tapering body with continuous dorsal fin with small spines at front. Two strange protruding tentacles above eyes. Alternating dark and light stripes down flanks. Both dorsal fins are long, the first is also quite spiny.

The tompot blenny is found over rocky to mixed ground in water generally less than twenty metres deep. It is mostly distributed to the south and west of the British Isles and is also found throughout the North East Atlantic and in the Mediterranean Sea. They live in holes and gaps in the rocks and will come out to feed, especially when the sun has begun to set. The two sensory organs which protrude from its head are the easiest source of identification of this species. Tompot blennies are occasionally caught by anglers scratching for mini-species with very small hooks, and this species is a common catch for LRF (Light Rock Fishing) anglers. The tompot blenny will take worm, fish and crab baits. Blenny are known to be inquisitive and scuba divers have reported that tompot blennies will leave their homes to come and investigate divers who venture nearby.

There are also a number of other blenny species found in British and Irish waters such as the Yarrell’s blenny, red blenny, Montagu blenny and the butterfly blenny. All of these species have a profile on this page.

Interesting fact: There was a mid-1990s indie/folk band named Tompot Blenny. They did not trouble the charts.