little red and silver fish about 55 mm long, excluding its caudal fin,
large eye and protractile mouth, with a spiky first dorsal and vibrating
second dorsal and second anal fins (vibrating like the dorsal fin of a
from side to side so it looks like a flatfish set on edge."
Boar Fish Capros Aper
3-00 oz 85 g Rinsey,
Porthleven, Cornwall Mrs R K Bennett
water specimens of the Boar Fish can be a straw-yellow colour instead of
on the Common Name:
most unfortunate mix-up seems to have occurred over the name of this fish.
= boar from the Greek kapros
= boar from the Latin.
(Aristotle 535b, 18) described Capros as a river fish that made a grunting
must be an even more unusual fish in British seas and estuaries with the
scientific name of
regius (=Sciaena aquila) a drumfish known by the even more
unfortunate common name of Meagre.
as the fish known as Capros aper, Boar Fish or Zulu Fish, seems
to have acquired the name of another fish by accident. Meagre for the meagre
meal it makes seems to be most likely name for this fish. Or Maigre from
the French for thin. It has shown no signs of grunting.
to do now as all the books have inappropriate names.
Meagre, I call the Drumfish, leaving a name needed for Capros aper.
Zulu Fish is OK when they are stripy and when washed up in a net or on
the shore. Cuckoo Fish would get confused with the Cuckoo Wrasse. The first
thing Peter Weight who caught the Sussex fish said when I told him the
common names was that it was an unimpressive name.
on the edge of the Continental Shelf at depths of about 100 metres in the
south-western approaches to the English Channel. But this fish is uncommon,
even rare, in shallow water.
with red and yellow coral (A. Wheeler).
found at similar depths off Ireland and Southern Scotland. Certainly, also
abundant off Portugal, perhaps even in shallower water.
Benthic crustaceans and
NOT make grunting noises (as reported in J R Norman).
Can swim backwards as readily
and even more effective and speedily than wrasse.
sea birds, larger fish.
itself at an oblique angle to the current at night and sometimes at other
times. Very nervous disposition and will not feed for several days if netted
and moved or after being caught. This is a slight problem.
on live daphnia and frozen brine shrimp, but needs encouragement to feed
and this is a worry at first. Finicky feeder, usually taking food only
of its preferred size, e.g. my small 55 mm fish will prefer frozen Artemia
to frozen mysis. After a bit (2 weeks), the fish will now take frozen mysis
as readily as Artemia (brine shrimp).
Will feed constantly
and becomes a more aggressive feeder after a month in captivity.
to light levels, attracted to low levels of light when its tank light is
off. (February - April 2003)
Has been observed
eating large particles of boiled mussel which
it can chop off so it does not need to eat the whole bit, (if it contains
the byssus threads etc.) (May 2003)
The BOAR FISH
died on 3 June 2003 after the tank sprung a leak. The fish weighed 22 grams
(fatter than when caught when it looked slightly malnourished). (The fish
was transferred to another tank, which probably had insufficent oxygen
during the emergency flooding (which threatened the electrical supply).
The tank had Corkwing Wrasse, Symphodus melops,
and Bullhead, Taurulus bubalis, at 22°
C so the oxygen requirements are high and it appeared OK at first. By the
time I had gone out of the room to set up an additional air pump it had
keeled over and could not be revived. (This is unusual.)
aper, was discovered by Tracey
Williams washed up dead on the shore at Porth,
Fish (or Zulu Fish),
aper, was discovered by Nigel
Mortimer washed up dead on the shore at Salcombe,
Fish (or Zulu Fish),
aper, was behaving strangely, swimming
near the surface on an exposed rockpool at ChallaboroughBeach,
south Devon, and we moved it from where we found it to a more secluded
commercial fisherman 'Chancre' Downes
landed a Boarfish (or Zulu Fish),
aper, while trawling for sand eels
on Great Bank outside St. Peter Port harbour. The fish had a total
weight of 38 grams and a total length of 13.2 cm. and was brought to the
Guernsey Aquarium. David Miller called me to identify it.
is only the second Boarfish
I have seen from Guernsey waters. The first one I saw was landed
by Guernsey commercial fisherman Shane Petit
on 23 February 2002.
are common in deep water of the western English Channel but rarely strays
east up the Channel. The fish's large eye and the orange/ red colour is
well suited to deep water as the longer wave length of red light is absorbed
by water before the blue and greens (which are reflected) and therefore
red coloured marine species appear dark or black at depth. The
Boarfish, like the John
Dory, has a protrusible (telescopic) mouth,
which is used for catching small species.
astonishing bright red fish misnamed as the Boar
aper, was discovered swimming around
in a pool when the tide was out on Littlehampton main beach (east of the
River Arun), Sussex. It was about 75 mm long, and I was able to scoop the
rhomboidal fish up in a shell, before I allowed it to swim away.
by Mark Wright
aper, was washed up alive on on at
Branksome Chine, Dorset (near Bournemouth). It was thrown back in the sea
but it may get washed up again.
attractive deep water fish is very occasionally washed up alive or found
in rock pools and very occasionally caught by
dead Boar Fish,
aper, was brought into the National
Marine Aquarium, Plymouth for identification.
The fishermen call them "Zulus" and used to catch them regularly, but they
are now almost unknown in the local catches, but I am told that lots are
caught by the beam trawlers fishing for Sole in deep water on the Parson's
and Great Sole Banks about 120 miles SW of the Lizard, Cornwall.
capture on rod and line by Peter
Weight of a Boar
aper, from Hove beach is the very
first record of this fish caught from the shore off Sussex. The books
say that this fish lives in depths of over 100 metres and there are no
seas of this depth on the English
side of the English Channel. This pretty little red
and silver fish about 55 mm long, excluding
its caudal fin, large eye and large protractile mouth, laterally compressed
(very thin and narrow profile), with a spiky first dorsal fin rays and
vibrating second dorsal and second anal fins (vibrating like the dorsal
fin of a pipefish). Although this fish is rarely
caught, it is abundant in deepish water (on the edge of the continental
shelf in the western approaches of the English Channel) and it is just
that normal fishing methods do not capture this small fish. All records
and especially all live records from the shore or on dives, and all Sussex
records are newsworthy.
fish is thriving in the BMLSS private aquarium (Shoreham-by-Sea). This
fish is rarely on display in British Public Aquaria
and the only known display of this fish was for several years at Mevagissey
specimen appeared live on Meridian TV Southern News on 6
10 November 2002, after a week in captivity,
the Boar Fish
commenced to feed on frozen brine shrimp after being initially encouraged
with live daphnia. It ignored other alternative foods like boiled mussel
flesh, very small live prawns (mysid-size), micro trout pellets (formed
into a ball). It seemed initially to feed better when the circulatory water
pump (powerhead) was turned off, but within an hour it recognised the food
and fed when the pump was on. Feeding was observed when the aquarium fluorescent
light was on and was continuous swallowing of very small particles of shrimp
collected in mid-water, and the water was kept in motion by the use of
an airstone attached to a powerful diaphragm air pump. If the particle
was disliked it would be examined and ignored, very occasionally it would
be swallowed and spat out again.
Sussex Record of a Boar Fish
Report from the Channel Islands
Cornish fisherman reported netting a shoal of 10 stone (140 lb = 64
kg) of these small Boar Fish, Capros
aper, just 10 miles off the Isles
of Scilly whilst fishing for squid.
aper, was also caught close inshore
to Mevagissey, Cornwall, in a Pilchard net and it is one of two of these
attractive fish on display in the aquarium.
Capros aper, was brought
up in a net set for Red Mullet,
surmulatus, at 12 metres off the island of Guernsey in the Channel
Islands. The Boar Fish
is rarely caught because it is small (59 grams and a total length of 153
mm) and escapes the nets and because it usually lives at greater depths
than most nets are set.
Cove, Dorset Report (link to)
A diver also thought he spotted
a Boar Fish (2001 ?) off the Isle of Wight.
1 Boar-fish or Zulu - Perranporth, Cornwall - reported by: Tony
Boar-fish or Zulu - Porth Kidney beach, Cornwall - reported by: Alan
orange specimen dead on strandline
years ago whilst doing some intertidal surveying at Wembury, South
Devon, we found one struggling in a rock pool after some stormy weather.
Does anybody have any ideas on how this might happen?
aper, was washed up dead on Shoreham
beach, Sussex, with the identity confirmed by the Natural History Museum
in London. The dried fish has been preserved as an ornament.
on 7 November 2002
by Mr. Viv Smith (Shoreham beach)
1991, a small Boar Fish was caught by a fisherman
off south Cornwall and spent several years in Mevagissey
John Barker wrote:
18 cm specimen of this attractive little fish was given to me in March
1990 by Freddy Flowers, the skipper of the fishing vessel (static netter)
"The Two Brothers". It was taken eight miles south west of Brighton in
30 metres, close to rocks. After preserving, the fish was given to the
Natural History Museum for their collection.
orange and lake Boar Fish was captured
alive at Brighton in March 1842
have traced just over 20 records form Cornwall (on the databases held by
the Environmental Records Centre for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly)
which, include one or two from the Scillies, ranging from 1825 to 2001,
Some years it is very common (over 1000 trawled in one week in September
1983) but it seems to be very variable in numbers and may be absent over
a span of years, or just found in ones and twos. Some are strandings,
kept on the Strandings Database, and one was still live in a rock pool
- but usually they are in deeper water.
Fish from Hove (d. June 2003)
RECORDS OF THE BOAR-FISH OR ZULU, CAPROS APER
is smaller font are the numbers assigned on the ERICA database (so I can
check any queries about the entries). A couple without numbers are on the
One in Mount’s Bay, sent to the Zoological Society as a very rare fish
(Yarrell 1841) (Y93794)
of rarest fish since 1843 when it appeared in large numbers from Plymouth
westwards. There were none in 1844, and since then it has been present
only in small numbers (Clark 1909) (10482 -10483)
in 1870 and "a veritable pest" from 1870-1879, often filling the trawls.
There was a violent storm in 1879 and then it did not appear again until
1894 (Clark 1909) (10484, 10485- 10486)
Off Prussia Cove (SW52) – described as one of our rarer fish (Cornish 1878)
in early 1900s especially in crab pots set with spider crab bait (Clark
in St Ives Bay *(SW54), early 1900s. (Vallentin 1907) (10489)
1952 Large numbers on several occasions. Since then only 1 2o 3 a year.
G. A. Steven in Plymouth Marine Fauna (1957) (10479)
Isles of Scilly (Isles of Scilly Museum list of fish1988) (I229)
One 10 cmsalive in rock pool, Prussia Cove (SW52) (Derrick Potton) (1475)
Three trawled 10 miles S. of Falmouth (P. A. Gainey) (19496)
After several days of storms, over 1000 trawled 25-40 m. off Falmouth in
one week (P. A. Gainey) (10492)
Taken by angler off Rinsey Head (SW52) (Y63638)
1989 Off Fowey )SX15) (Sarah Matthews) (C791)
1991 Stranded at Downderry(SX£65) photographed by S. C. Madge (P103835)
One stranded at Porth Kidney, Lelant )SW53) (Alan Matthews)
One dead on strandline, Perranporth (SW75) (Tony Davis)
Cunningham in the Victoria County History of Cornwall (1906) mentions it
being found on the beach at Brighton in 1842. It was sent to Buckingham
Palace (for some reason) where the Prince Consort identified it.
1909. Reprinted from ‘Zoological Papers’ in Zoologist 1907 and 1908.
W., 1841. British Fishes. London: van Voorst.
I'm not too surprised
by the presence of the Boar
Fish (Capros aper), off
Sussex. A few years ago I was carrying out
some research work off the
Irish coast aboard a super crabber, they
loaded boxes of Boar Fish
(Capros aper) for use as bait!! which puzzled
me at the time as the size
would hardly put out a significant scent to
However, once the pots had begun to be hauled
and nearly every other pot
had a conger eel in, the reasoning became
clear. The conger eel were
cut up into steaks/chunks and used for bait
with the Boar fish (Capros
aper) merely used to bulk out the bait. I
questioned the skipper as
to the source of the Boar fish (Capros aper),
and he replied that they
bought them off local trawlers who landed
specifically for pot bait
and they were a significant component of the
bycatch in local waters.
At the end of the trip most of the bait went
over the wall as the fresh
conger eel provided the main bait source.
N.V.Proctor BSc.(Hons) CBiol
> Benthic Projects Manager
> Institute of Estuarine
& Coastal Studies,
> University of Hull, Cottingham
> Hull, HU6 7RX.
> Tel 01482 465661/465667
> FAX 01482 456001
on Capros aper
Boar Fish, Capros
John Dory, Zeus
Sailfin Dory, Zenopsis
Sailfin Dory, Zenopsis
Silver Dory (=Sailfin
conchifer, was landed at Newlyn, Cornwall.
Silver Dory (=Sailfin
conchifer, was caught by Pierro
Le Cheminant from his trawler, Amy
Blue, at the northern end of the Big
Russel to the north of Sark,
in the Channel Islands.
The trawl at the edge of a reef netted this deep water (mesopelagic)
Atlantic Ocean fish which is very rarely caught in British seas. had a
total length of 475 mm and a gutted weight of 953 grams. The
fish could be mistaken for John Dory,
Record 2002 (from Cornwall)
conchifer, was trawled six miles off Wolf
Rock, Cornwall. This is such an unusual occurence that the fish is not
in the popular British list of marine species. This fish was 38 cm long
and weighed 550 grams, gutted.
could be mistaken for similar John Dory,
faber. The Silver Dory is the complete fish shown in the photograph
of the fish caught and preserved and the upper fish is a John Dory. The
John Dory inhabits shallow water but the new fish is a denizen of the deep.
There has been a handful of previous records off Cornwall, the first official
one recorded on 29 August 1995.
There is no data for these,
other than that they were strange fish described
in John Lees' notebook resembling
a John Dory, and later identified as
The first confirmed British
record, as described by Swaby & Potts (1999).
- landed on 13th July
Caught by 'Wayfarer' E.
of Labadie Bank
- landed 23 September
6 miles north of Wolf Rock,
Cornwall Currently the specimen is in the deep freezer on DEFRA's
There may be a sixth record
(off Mevagissey) but we have not been able to clarify that. I am sending
a copy to Doug and I will also check this list with Paul G. by 'phone or
when next we meet.