World's 'least graceful marine fish' go on display at aquarium


A pair of Lumpsucker fish are going on display at Blue Reef Aquarium in Hastings, after they were caught by local fishermen.

The bizarre-looking fish – a male and a female – were discovered in the fishermen’s nets and brought into the aquarium where they were looked after in quarantine before going on public display.

It’s now hoped the fish, which are both adults, will eventually start to breed and produce eggs of their own.

Lumpsuckers have been described as one of the world's least graceful marine fish. They get their name from specially adapted pelvic fins on their bellies which form a suction cup.

"This pair were suffering from an infestation of sea lice, so we have been treating them in our quarantine area," said Blue Reef's Chris Ireland. "However they both appear to be in excellent condition and we’re hoping they will start to breed over the coming weeks or months."

Found from Northern Europe and Greenland to Maryland in the United States, Lumpsuckers are also known as 'sea hens' and spend most of their time in deep water. Fully grown females can reach lengths in excess of 60cm/24".

In the spring, they come into the shallows to spawn. While the female returns to deeper waters, the male remains and protects the clump of up to 200,000 eggs from predators until they hatch.

The fish’s pelvic fins are adapted to form a powerful sucker on their undersides which is useful for clinging to rocks, particularly in wave-washed shallow waters and also allows the father to stay anchored to the rocks beside his eggs.

Apparently 18th century scientists found that a bucketful of water could be lifted by the tail of a fully grown Lumpfish clinging to its base.

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