A medium-sized blenny, elongate small fish of a large family of fishes
that live in rocky areas in shallow water. All true blennies have a continuous
dorsal fin; the first dorsal fins are spiny and the remainder are soft.
The pectoral finds are relatively large.
Distinguished by a pair of tentacles/lappets over the eye.
Photograph by Andy Horton
Usually a deep brown-orange.
Similar species: Red
Blenny, Parablennius ruber
Coryphoblennius galerita, Lipophrys
pholis (Smooth Blenny), Blennius
ocellaris (Butterfly Blenny), Yarrell's
Blenny, Chirolophis ascanii
The presence of the eye tentacles are definitive. See link
The first fin does not contain the ocellated spot of the Butterfly Blenny.
Habitat: Rocky areas below low
water mark, rarely intertidal where both similar species are to be found
in the summer.
Found on the shore at Dawlish, Devon, in winter only.
Infrequent on the shore in Sussex (1 in 100 visits on favourable tides
in spring and autumn).
Food: Small invertebrates including
sea anemones. Sharp comb-like teeth.
See map. The precise distribution around the Irish coast needs further
Additional Notes: A common fish
familiar to divers.
have just come back from Dorset and while visiting Swanage for the day
my son Reece Beechey,
who is twelve, went crabbing off of the pier and caught a fish ! A gentleman
came over to look and told him it was a Tompot
at Welbourne (Sunstar Sub-Aqua)
dived the 'Rosalie'
in Norfolk at the weekend and saw a Tompot
Blenny. It was a fairly large one and
was seen by several divers and we have some photos. According to our books,
it has never been recorded on the east coast. Is this as exciting as we
Blennies off the Norfolk coast
by Dawn Watson
diver's that first saw the Tompot Blenny
were Dawn and Rob,
although there were at least eight people that saw it at the time.
biogeograhical distribution of the Tompot
Blenny around Britain is currently under
investigation. The books may just be wrong! They are found off the
Information (Aquarium Study)
Information wanted: Please
send any records of this fish, with location, date, who discovered it,
how it was identified, prevalence, common name and any other details to
All messages willreceive
Tompot Blennies, Parablennius
gattorugine, are a common sight for shore divers along this coast,
although it is extremely unusual to find them resident on the shore. I
was very surprised, therefore, to find an adult looking at me from a crevice
under a large rock that I moved aside. The fish was very brightly coloured
in red and blue, and about 20 cm in length.
When Deanna tried to catch
it, it attached itself firmly to her glove with its sharp teeth, and proved
somewhat difficult to remove to the bucket! In the aquarium, however, the
fish displays none of the usual aggressive tendencies of other Tompots,
and will come out of its hole to be stroked when the tank is approached!
Immediately after capturing
one Tompot, I found another, much larger at over 30 cm in length, and similarly
Even more strangely, a couple
of tiny fish (25 mm or so) that Deanna found under small stones also turned
out to be baby Tompots once we had returned home, and they are delightful
aquarium residents, bustling about the tank and perching on rocks to watch
the other residents.
Jon Makeham & Deanna Webb (Looe)
A juvenile Tompot collected
from the shore at Worthing is unusual, although I have seen one before
this late in the year when the shore fauna is scanty. AH.
Pier Picture Gallery (with Tompot Blennies)
very colourful blenny has made a niche for itself in a crevice on the wreck
of the "James
Elgan Layne" in Whitsand Bay, Plymouth, Devon.
This is a common small fish known as a Tompot
gattorugine, not the similar but more colourful fish known as the
ruber, which has only recently been
discovered as an inhabitant of the seas around Ireland and Scotland, could
be mistaken for the fish in the photograph on the left. The latter discovery
would be newsworthy.
feature in the "Torpedo" News Bulletin
between Blennies & Gobies