Yarrell's Blenny

Yarrell's Blenny, Chirolophis ascanii, is a widespread but uncommon fish, but it seems to have localised populations, and is found in only a few favoured areas. The exact distribution of this fish is unknown and all reports are of interest. It should not be confused with the common Tompot Blenny, Parablennius gattorugine.

The common name is after the Victorian naturalist William Yarrell, who identifies this fish from specimens caught in Loch Broome and from the east coast at Berwick Bay. Yarrell in later editions of his "History of British Fishes" also mentions specimens caught by R Q Couch and others in south Cornwall and others from around Ireland and Scotland and off Yorkshire. This fish is unknown to rockpoolers and records on the shore must be very rare. It usually lives below 20 metres.

It is classified in the family Stichaeidae of Arctic fish with specimens found south of the English Channel likely to be rare. It is even more elongated than true Blennies (family: Blennidae) and specimens reach 25 cm in length. It is probably much commoner off the long Norwegian coast.

I have never seen this fish on display.


2 April 2010

A Yarrell's Blenny, Chirolophis ascanii, wasdiscovered in a rockpool near Banff in north Scotland.  "It has a fern like horn above its head which looks bright yellow in daylight."  This is an unusual find on the shore and this is only the second report received. Both were from north Scotland.

Report and Photographs by Mark Butcher
8 June 2008
A Yarrell's Blenny, Chirolophis ascanii, was spotted by Shirley Sweeney in a rockpool near Kilberry on the north west coast of the Mull of Kintyre, west Scotland. This is the first report of this small fish on the shore from the BMLSS web pages.
Report by Jamie Marzella (Shotts, Scotland)

Yarrell's Blenny (Photograph by Jamie)

British Marine Life Study Society Home Page
News 2019
News 2018
Main Links
Membership Form
Top of the Page