UK Record Weights from rod/line:
MAFF Minimum Size: Shore:
Elongated body with rounded cross-section. Distinctive spines or prickles cover the whole underside of the belly and throat. The skin in this region tends to be loose, and allows for the infation of the belly by air or water. This distension increases the apparent size of the fish, and errects the spines for a defensive posture.
The dorsal and anal fins are both narrow based and exhibit an extended form, with convex curvature on the anterior edge, and concave in the posterior. A short straight nick-back returns to the fin base. Whilst both occur in the last third of the body length, and the anal fin being approximatly of the same dimentions, it is set further back than it's dorsal counterpart. The body tapers towards the concave tail fin.
The head accounts for almost a quarter of the total length of the fish, and is smooth skinned, with small eyes. The gill slit is located in front of the pectoral fin, and is greatly diminished in apperance.The small mouth has fused teeth at it's front, and gives rise to the classic parrot's bill.
The back is a dark to steel blue, reducing in intensity towards the whitish grey of the sides and belly. The sides also sport small diffuse dusky spots.
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