Long-spined Bullhead

Fact File:

Common Name(s):
Long-spined Bullhead,

Bullhead, Rockfish, Scorpion Fish, Clobberhead, 
Sea Scorpion 

Scientific Name:
Taurulus bubalis 

Usual Size:
175 mm

UK Record Weights from rod/line:



MAFF Minimum Size: Shore: Boat:

A small fish with a stout body (flattened out wide about the same as it is high) with a head as large as the rest of its tapering body. Medium-sized cottid, or sculpin. This family of fish are usually regarded as ugly in appearance with a drab colour and this species has four long spines that stick out when the fish is removed from the water. Usually in various shades of brown with large cream blotches, in some areas this fish will be orange or red and the cream blotches will be white. The pectoral fins are huge relative to the small squat body.

Early spring. Small clumps of cream caviar-sized eggs laid in shallow water.

Shallow rocky areas. Small fish will be found in tide pools during the summer. M. scorpius lives in deeper water.

A large expandable mouth will swallow fish as big as itself. Flattened crushing teeth so it cannot eat anything it cannot swallow whole. In most areas, prawns are its principal diet. It will readily take worms on a hook and bait meant for much larger fish.

All rocky coasts around the British Isles. 
Its range in Scotland is not known and may be replaced by M. scorpius.  
English Channel, North Sea, Irish Sea

Additional Notes:

Similiar species:  Myoxocephalus scorpius is very similar in appearance. However, the two species can be readily distinguished because only T. bubalis has white lappets on the corner of its wide mouth.

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 Shorewatch Project EMail 106127.206@compuserve.com. All messages will receive a reply.

Additional Link:

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