Five-Bearded Rockling

Fact File:

Common Name(s):
Five-Bearded Rockling

Scientific Name:
Ciliata mustela

Usual Size:
12 cm   Max.25 cm

UK Record Weights from rod/line:



MAFF Minimum Size: Shore: Boat:

A small brown elongate fish with five barbels on the head and an unusual first dorsal fin which consists of a single first ray followed by a fringe of vibrating rays set in a trench-like depression. There is no fin membrane between the rays in the first dorsal arrangement, but the second dorsal fin is conventional and runs the length of the body


In shallow water usually over sand, and intertidal under rocks. In very rocky areas the similar species Gaidropsarus mediterraneus can be found

Small crustaceans and worms.

All British coasts, Atlantic coasts of Norway, Iceland, France and Spain, North Sea.

Additional Notes:

Count the barbels to be sure of identification. Young are silver and live in the surface water, until summer when they descend to the sea floor inshore and change colour to brown. A sensitive fish to low oxygen conditions.

Reports of rocklings can be sent to:

Shorewatch Project    EMail  

All messages will receive a reply.

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