Common Topknot

    • Scientific name: Zeugopterus punctatus
    • Also know as: Common Topknot, Muller’s Topknot
    • Size: Up to 25cm (UK shore caught typically 15 – 20cm)
    • UK minimum size: 20cm/8ins
    • UK shore caught record: 382 grams
    • 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 flatfish that is almost completely round in shape. Mottled brown and white colour with light wide fins all the way around the body and the tail is very small.

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 cling 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 specifically targeting small fish when taking part in LRF (Light Rock Fishing). The shore caught record for this species is a specimen of 382 grams (just over 12 oz). This was set in 1998 by ten-year-old R. Thompson with a topknot caught when fishing at Guernsey in the Channel Islands. 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.

The species featured on this page is the common topknot. There are two other 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.