PISCES : PERCIFORMES : BlenniidaeBONY FISH

Parablennius gattorugine (Linnaeus, 1758)

Tompot Blenny


Description: The tompot is a stoutly built blenny which is usually about 15-20cm long although it can be up to 30cm. One of the most distinctive characteristics of the tompot are the two branched head tentacles, which are located above the eyes. The long dorsal fin is separated into two halves by a shallow notch. The front half of the fin is composed of stiff, spiny rays whilst the back half is made up of soft rays. Apart from the shallow notch separating the front and back half, the fin is of uniform height. The colour is mottled brown with seven or more darker bars running across the sides. The eyes are coloured with the top half brown and the bottom part white.

Habitat: This species is usually found in holes, on rocky ledges or amongst boulders and seaweeds at depths down to approximately 20m. It is considered to feed mostly on crustaceans.

Distribution: Although the tompot is common on the south, west and north coasts of Britain and Ireland it appears to be absent from the North Sea and the east coast of Britain.

Similar Species: Yarrell's blenny (Chirolophis ascani), Montagu's blenny (Coryphoblennius galerita) and the Butterfly blenny (Blennius ocellaris) also have large head tentacles however the tompot can be distinguished by its coloration. The Red Blenny (Parablennius ruber) is similar, but has bright red and white mottled coloration.

Key Identification Features:

Distribution Map from BioMar data for Ireland - Google Earth map:  download this placemark (not got Google Earth installed?)

Distribution Map from NBN: Grid map (fast) : Interactive map (slow, requires login to view records) : National Biodiversity Network mapping facility, data for UK.


 Picton, B.E. & Morrow, C.C., 2010. [In] Encyclopedia of Marine Life of Britain and Ireland
http://www.habitas.org.uk/marinelife/species.asp?item=ZG6360

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