10 20 40 60 cm

mittakaava < 40 cm

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Gösta Sundman: Suomen Kalat (Kansalliskirjasto, The National Library of Finland), Lauri Urho, Petri Savola (Uudenmaan ympäristökeskus)

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Viviparous blenny

Zoarces viviparus

  • 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.

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