Ciliata mustela - Rockling

A three-bearded rockling

Taxonomy

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Actinopterygii

Order: Gadiformes

Family: Lotidae

The five-bearded rockling, Ciliata mustela, is the most common of the rocklings found off the Welsh coast. The number of barbels (beards!) is the  key to identification.

Rockling are of no commercial importance but they are an important source of food for other larger fish. You will find shore rockling, Gaidropsarus mediterraneus, in shallow, rocky waters; they can reach 25 cm in length, but 10 to 15 cm is more usual.

The three-bearded rockling, Gaidropsarus vulgaris, is the largest of the rockling species found in Welsh waters and can grow to a length of 40 cm.