Butterfish

Pholis gunnellus
Butterfish

Habitat: Rocky shore, rock pools and kelp forest
Depth: 0-50mm
Food: Small crustaceans molluscs, worms and fish eggs
Length: Up to 25cm
Lifespan: 5 years
Conservation Status: Data Deficient (DD)

The butterfish is well suited to life on the rocky shore – it can survive out of water between the tides by hiding under rocks and seaweeds. As its name suggests, it’s a slimy fish and very difficult to pick up! In the winter, the female butterfish lays a ball of eggs and both parents take turns guarding them. Tiny larval fish hatch out and join the plankton.

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