10 20 40 60 cm
mittakaava < 20 cm
Gösta Sundman: Suomen Kalat (Kansalliskirjasto, The National Library of Finland), Lauri Urho
- Other names: Lumpsucker
- Family: Lumpfishes – Cyclopteridae
- Similar species: None
- Size: 10-15 cm.
- Appearance: The ball-like shape of this curious fish makes it difficult to confuse with any other species found in Finnish waters. The ridged back, combined with three rows of bony tubercles along each side, gives the impression that the fish is seven-sided in cross-section. A further peculiarity is that when held in the hand the lumpfish appears to shiver as though with cold. It has a jelly-like layer of fat beneath the skin. Its pelvic fins have evolved to form suction discs which the fish uses to attach itself to rocks and other objects with considerable force. The head and pectoral fins of the male are larger in relation to the body than those of the female.
- Colouring: The back and sides of females are dark greenish brown while the belly is pale. The male is darker with a reddish belly, spawning males taking on an overall deep red colour.
- Reproduction: Spawns in May-June among seaweed close to the shore in water a few metres deep. The male guards the eggs, occasionally fanning them during the month-long incubation. The tadpole-like young spend some time in open water before attaching themselves to the safety of vegetation using their own suction discs.
- Food: Benthic invertebrates and small fish.
- Distribution and habitat: Occurs throughout the Baltic Sea area, though probably rare in the northern Gulf of Botnia. Lumpfish spend most of their lives attached to stones on the sea bed without moving any great distances except when spawning. After spawning they usually inhabit depths of more than 10 m, the greatest numbers having been found at 20-40 m. Lumpfish prefer cold water, and in winter can move into shallower water. Seldom found in traps or nets and may be much more common than suggested by the numbers caught. Like many other Baltic species, the lumpfish’s growth is somewhat stunted. In the ocean females may attain a length of 60 cm and weigh over 5 kg.