10 20 40 60 cm
mittakaava < 40 cm
Gösta Sundman: Suomen Kalat (Kansalliskirjasto, The National Library of Finland), Lauri Urho
Zoarces viviparus (L.)
- Family: Eelpouts – Zoarcidae
- Similar species: burbot, four-bearded rockling, rock gunnel, snake blenny
- Size: 15-30 cm, seldom reaches 40 cm.
- Appearance: Body elongated, resembles a small burbot. Caudal fin arrowhead-shaped, forming a continuation of the long dorsal and anal fins. This distinguishes the viviparous blenny from the two other similar slim-bodied bottom-dwelling fish in the Baltic, the rock gunnel and snake blenny. The viviparous blenny has a wide mouth with prominent lips.
- Colouring: Upper body with irregular dark brown markings, belly yellowish. Pectoral, anal and caudal fins have a reddish tinge, colour brighter in spawning season. When opened, the bones are green, the colour becoming more intense on cooking.
- Reproduction: Unlike most other fish, fertilisation of the eggs takes place internally. Mating occurs in July-August, the female giving birth during winter to well developed fry 4-6 cm in length.
- Food: Crustaceans and other small benthic invertebrates, eggs and fry of fish.
- Distribution and habitat: Found throughout Finland’s seas, though less common in the northernmost Gulf of Botnia and eastern Gulf of Finland. Lives in fairly shallow water usually less than 15 m in depth. Older individuals may move to deeper water. Usually found hiding among stones or seaweed.
The viviparous blenny is a common catch in coastal waters, especially by ice-fishers in winter. Makes good eating, although not greatly appreciated in Finland.