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Taurulus bubalis

(Euphrasen, 1786)


Andy Horton Popular the red Taurulus bubalis. Shows why!

Andy Rapson Taurulus bubalis, this specimen was around one inch, but still had the form of an adult

Chris Barrett I wish I had your fish tank(s), Andy! Yep, I reckon their growth is isometric. Is that Gobius pagenellus too?

Andy Horton I mastered aquarium photography with film cameras but I have not managed to do it with digital cameras yet. My tiny Bullheads are half this size and look just the same.

Andy Horton Bullheads are well named. Even at that size they are agrressive hungry little buggers. Cannibals as well. I think that is the idea of the spines to discourage them from eating each other.

Chris Barrett I always wondered about the primary function of the spines, but couldn't see much literature on it

Andy Horton http://www.flickr.com/photos/42615431@N00/376919814/in/pool-81599071@N00/

Chris Barrett Cheers Andy :)

Andrew Cleave

Andy Horton This has been a popular photo subject and a search for Taurulus bubalis on this group will find some more colourful pictures.

Andy Horton http://www.glaucus.org.uk/Bullhead.htm

Michelle Hooper A nice pale one I photographed here in Guernsey.

Andy Horton After the beautiful corals, now the bully of the rock pools ...

Andy Horton The Bullhead Taurulus bubalis is an extremely voracious predator with a marked taste for prawns and small fish. A veritable terror of the rock pools; a rapacious hunter that camouflages itself amongst the rocks and captures its prey with one enormous gulp from its gigantic mouth. It is capable of capturing fish even larger than itself, digesting its own weight in food, in only 50 minutes. http://www.glaucus.org.uk/Terror.htm

Anne Bignall I just love these fish - we see loads of them snorkelling but I never get bored of them and they're so photogenic - these two look like nice stout specimens

Andy Horton It was one where you can count the spines.

David Fenwick Snr Another image of the eggs

Andy Horton DF: I have seen these before. Could they be Taurulus bubalis? I can't remember.

David Fenwick Snr I thought Taurulus were laid in a cluster; the laying on a bed of sand makes me wonder if they might be a wrasse, the eggs are about 2mm dia. The niche where they were found was quite protected by rock

Andy Horton http://www.britishmarinelifepictures.co.uk/photo2081226.html

Chris Barrett If they're wrasse eggs, Frances Dipper will be the one to ask!

David Fenwick Snr Thank Chris have followed it up.

Richard Lord Definitely not Taurulus bubalis eggs.

Andy Horton Maybe not. I just can't remember. http://www.glaucus.org.uk/Bullheadeggs-SS.jpg

Andy Horton http://www.sealordphotography.net/Nature/British-marine-life/North-Sea-seashore-life/3515110_fwNh6D/142968255_DGToW#!i=142968255&k=DGToW

Andy Horton http://www.visualphotos.com/image/1x4257253/long_spinned_sea_scorpion_taurulus_bubalis_with

David Wilson Could they be lumpsucker eggs?

Andy Horton David: a good suggestion. I know I have seen these but my memory has gone. I don't think they are Wrasse.

Richard Lord At 2 mm diameter they are small eggs.

Darryl Mayer I'm thinking Lumpsucker eggs are more reddish and are not laid flat but in large 3D masses?

Chris Barrett I agree with Darryl, I think lumpsucker egg masses are more 'clustered,' and less flatly spread out

Andy Horton http://www.naturalvisions.co.uk/ImageDetail.aspx?imdet=54408 Thi is assuming the photographers have got their IDs correct.

Darryl Mayer Looks right to me. They do come in numerous colours. Red and Black are favourites when it's sold as Lumpfish Caviar.

David Fenwick Snr Managed to photograph Bullhead eggs today definately not those.

David Wilson What other fish lay eggs adhering to the substrate and (presumably) guard/brood them. How about a tompot blenny or the common shanny.

Andy Horton I wish my memory could help me. On my local beaches the four species where I have seen the egg are Blenny, Lumpsucker, Rock Goby, and Bullhead (Taurulus bubalis). I think all them guard their eggs. I am sure I have seen these eggs before.

David Fenwick Snr Full marks for David Wilson, top of the class, Tompot Blenny. My partner and I went Marazion (east of causeway) today and saw a male and female tompot over the same eggs. We confirmed it by finding another nest with tompot on. Found lots of unusual species today, fantastic.

David Wilson Lucky guess.

Jon Chamberlain If this one Micrenophrys lilljeborgii or Taurulus bubalis? The latter would have barbels which this doesn't have. Sorry, I don't have any better angles (or more in focus shots!). Found at Salthouse, Norfolk, 7m, a couple of weeks ago. Approx 5cm long

Andy Horton Taurulus bubalis

Simon Parker The nose looks a bit pointed for Micrenophrys lilljeborgii and Taurulus bubalis is often marked like this when juvenile.

Rob Spray I don't see how you'd tell from this angle... statistic probability would suggest you put the money on T.bubalis :-)

Message posted on Seasearch Identifications on 19 Oct 2013
Paula Lightfoot Thanks for the help with the rockling! Here is another rock pool fish, a juvenile just over 1cm long. Is it possible to tell what it is from the photo? Maybe a tiny Taurulus bubalis?

Christian Skauge Very likely in my opinion! But you may have some "exotic" species down in your parts... if it was here I would say 90% sure - maybe 10% Micrenophrys lilljeborgi :-)

Andy Horton Interesting. I tend to concur with Christian Skauge. I have no experience with Micrenophrys lilljeborgi but lots with Taurulus bubalis.

Chris Barrett The barbs on the corner of the mouth isn't very obvious on the photo, but that's not to say they're not there. Is this from the intertidal again, Paula?

Christian Skauge I miss the skin barb too, although there's a light little spec there... when so small, they might not have developed properly.

Tony Gilbert The short-spined sea scorpion is a more northern species, and I've seen the larger varieties of Myoxocephalus scorpius in Eyemouth, so its possible this is a juvenile. The barbs are very small on short-spined as opposed to the long spined. http://www.flickr.com/photos/tonyjgilbert-images/3831462480/in/set-72157620648578254

Paula Lightfoot Thanks everyone! Chris Barrett - yes it was in the intertidal. Zooming in on the original photo, I can definitely see the cheek spines but I can't see mouth barbels - although I don't know whether they are present in juveniles, it was only about a centimetre long!

Tony Gilbert Good point, I wonder whether pogge are born with barbels?

Message posted on Seasearch Identifications on 19 May 2012
David Fenwick Snr Oceanobdella microstoma on Taurulus bubalis (Bullhead or Sea Scoprpion); just confirmed by Gene Burreson. The leeches are on approx 1 in 3 Bullheads at Penzance at the moment.

Jon Chamberlain If this one Micrenophrys lilljeborgii or Taurulus bubalis? The latter would have barbels which this doesn't have. Sorry, I don't have any better angles (or more in focus shots!). Found at Salthouse, Norfolk, 7m, a couple of weeks ago. Approx 5cm long

Andy Horton Taurulus bubalis

Simon Parker The nose looks a bit pointed for Micrenophrys lilljeborgii and Taurulus bubalis is often marked like this when juvenile.

Rob Spray I don't see how you'd tell from this angle... statistic probability would suggest you put the money on T.bubalis :-)

Message posted on Seasearch Identifications on 19 Oct 2013
Paula Lightfoot Thanks for the help with the rockling! Here is another rock pool fish, a juvenile just over 1cm long. Is it possible to tell what it is from the photo? Maybe a tiny Taurulus bubalis?

Christian Skauge Very likely in my opinion! But you may have some "exotic" species down in your parts... if it was here I would say 90% sure - maybe 10% Micrenophrys lilljeborgi :-)

Andy Horton Interesting. I tend to concur with Christian Skauge. I have no experience with Micrenophrys lilljeborgi but lots with Taurulus bubalis.

Chris Barrett The barbs on the corner of the mouth isn't very obvious on the photo, but that's not to say they're not there. Is this from the intertidal again, Paula?

Christian Skauge I miss the skin barb too, although there's a light little spec there... when so small, they might not have developed properly.

Tony Gilbert The short-spined sea scorpion is a more northern species, and I've seen the larger varieties of Myoxocephalus scorpius in Eyemouth, so its possible this is a juvenile. The barbs are very small on short-spined as opposed to the long spined. http://www.flickr.com/photos/tonyjgilbert-images/3831462480/in/set-72157620648578254

Paula Lightfoot Thanks everyone! Chris Barrett - yes it was in the intertidal. Zooming in on the original photo, I can definitely see the cheek spines but I can't see mouth barbels - although I don't know whether they are present in juveniles, it was only about a centimetre long!

Tony Gilbert Good point, I wonder whether pogge are born with barbels?

Message posted on Seasearch Identifications on 19 May 2012
Mickey Luv

Mickey Luv common under rocks at the moment. I am sure one of you knows whose eggs they are, thanks!

Mickey Luv someone suggested Bullrout...

Andy Horton Taurulus bubalis ? General pic on http://www.glaucus.org.uk/Bullhead.htm I ought to have a more detailed photograph on the page.

Mickey Luv or Myoxocephalus scorpius, I don't know!

Andy Horton Taurulus bubalis if inshore, on English and Welsh coasts is default most likely.

Andy Horton There are doubts over my ID of this fish. Second opinion welcomed. http://www.glaucus.org.uk/sea-scorpion023-CM.jpg

Darryl Mayer Short-spined Sea Scorpion.

Darryl Mayer Myoxocephalus scorpius

Andy Rapson I think Myoxocephalus scorpius too, Taurulus bubalis has an extension from each corner of the mouth which this fish seems to lack.

Andy Horton The consensus is Taurulus bubalis, with the white mouth lappets turned in on themselves so they are effectively invisible.

Andy Rapson Yes, the length of the spine extending beyond the gill is the clincher.

Andy Rapson Is the colour of these fish fairly random or is it more controlled? I know red is the first colour to 'disappear' and can't be seen below about 30m making it a good colour to blend in. Is that the possibly case with this fish?

Andy Horton From lots of anecdotal experience and assumptions, I would say the colour varies according to the habitat.

Darryl Mayer It does indeed AH. I've seen them in Black, B&W, Red, Multi-coloured even Yellow (and have pics too).

Andy Horton All the Sussex ones I have seen (hundreds) have been a variation of the colours on the following web page, sometimes though a less contrasty warmer brown, but I have seen photographs of Sussex specimens with more colourful markings. http://www.glaucus.org.uk/Terror.htm

Ronald Surgenor I would have said short spined sea- scorpion myself, head shape looks wrong for a long spinded and spines aren't long enough on the gill case either.

Chris Barrett short spined sea scorpion, as it lacks the mouth barbs that Taurulus bubalis has

Andy Horton The head looks right for T bubalis, the spines and mouth lappets cannot be seen clearly is my assessment.

Andy Horton The first dorsal fin spine count is 8 which in Sussex is usual for T. bubalis whereas the very few samples of M. scorpius have 9. This is not definitive and further first dorsal fin counts would be useful.

Ronald Surgenor I wonder can they hybridise, just to confuse things further.

Andy Horton My bet is that they will eat each other, the bigger fish swallowing the smaller one, subject to the spines deterrent.

Andy Horton The larger the T. bubalis and the smaller the long spines are in proportion to the body.

Douglas Herdson Where was it found? I have found that M. scorpius are generally larger and found offshore, shore specimens are rather rare. Also the head is broader and more domed than T. bubalis. I definitely go with Taurulus bulbalis for this fish.

Cathal McNaughton I think this is a more mature Tb than we generally see in rockpools. Disregarding the presence of the diagnostic barbel on the rear of the maxillary, I think the length of the long spine on this one is hard to appreciate fully in my images for 2 reasons. Firstly it is partially obscured by the splayed out pectoral and secondly what can be seen of it is totally identical brilliant red to its backround. I think Andy has also made a potentially crucial point that the large spine on a mature Tb becomes proportionately smaller than those on juveniles? I might add more pics, hope I dont have to do too much resizing as it makes things difficult to see!

Cathal McNaughton Re colouration, I wonder how constant it is and if this one was this colour all the time? Just because Ive seen small TB from rockpools completely change their hue in a matter of minutes when moved over a new surface. Darryl I'd love to see your yellow fish! The nearest to that Ive seen would be a kind of buff/olive, but I dont think its particularly uncommon. Fascinating fish.

Vinh Lam Hi guys, been looking around the web and my own images of the two species, but it looks like M scorpius has a few more rays in the 2nd Dorsal than T bubalis. Most of the T bubalis I've counted have 10-11 where as the M scorpius have 12+. To me, I think it's jizz feels like T bubalis.

Andy Horton I was thinking about the spine count on the first dorsal fin for bothe species. 6 or 7.

Douglas Herdson According to Wheeler (1969) M. scorpius D1 VII to XI hard spines, D2 14 - 17 soft rays; T. bubalis D1 VII to IX hard spines, D2 10 - 13 soft rays.

Andy Horton Memory error. D! = XIII in Sussex specimens when the spines are counted in T bubalis. I think there may be variations though. I seem to have mislaid my notes.

Andy Horton Could there be a correlation between red Taurulus bubalis and Lithothamanian encrusting algae?

Cathal McNaughton Andy, is that the much talked about rare sea bed environment, some of which seems to be located just north east of Cushendun village?

Chris Barrett Hello my friends. Today, I was examining the stomach contents of a viviparous blenny/eelpout (Zoarces viviparous). I came across what's shown in the attached photo, which to me, looked like a squid beak and mantle. Does anyone agree? If so, I've never come across squid jaws with serrated edges before

Chris Barrett Nereis jaws?

David Fenwick Snr Yes Chris I'd go with that, first thing I thought of when I looked. An isopod like Sphaeroma for the larger piece anyone ? A huge stab in the dark though.

Sabine Katharina Wieczorek Chris is right. I analysed the stomach contents of snow crabs for a year - that's exactly what they are.

Sabine Katharina Wieczorek Polychaete mouth parts.

Sabine Katharina Wieczorek check out Fauchald "the polychaete worms"

Chris Barrett Thanks all. Credit to Seamus Whyte for giving me the answer. Sabine, I will check that out, thank you for the tip! :) Happy Christmas, all!

Andy Horton A Wheeler says it feeds on small crustaceans, occasional fish and molluscs. So can be add polychaetes or worms to the list? Or just occasionally? I would not find committing myself to the guess that worms form an important part of its diet ??? A Wheeler is likely to be quite accurate for the diet of the British fishes (from past experience).

Chris Barrett Thanks for the info, Andy. I also found Scololepsis squamata (whole) inside of a long spined scorpion fish from the same site too. When my diet papers have been written and checked, I will forward them to you. Hopefully some of the prey items might be of interest to you. At the moment, I'd say worms are part of the diet, albeit in very small, insignificant quantities.

Chris Barrett Just had another S.squamata inside Ciliata mustella. From this sample (winter from North Yorkshire), species of Idotea seem to be the major food items in Lipophrys pholis, Taurulus bubalis and Ciliata mustella

Andy Horton Do you do aquarium studies? When you have a list I would be interested in filing diets of rock pool fish

Andy Horton http://www.glaucus.org.uk/fishdata.htm Index page.

Chris Barrett I'm studying for a PhD in marine biology/ecology. I'm looking at coexistence of intertidal fishes in the UK, so I look at things like habitat preference, distribution and co-occurence, dietary preference, etc., so yes, I will have a list when i'm done and would be happy to send it to you.

Andy Horton Diet varies according to location and time of year. T bubalis has a tremendous appetite and it would need to eat a hell of a lot of Idotea to satisfy its belly. Type of teeth is an interesting contrast between the fish mentioned.

Chris Barrett I've made notes in dentition, but haven't really done much else with them. Like you say though, teeth are interesting. I've been doing dietary comparisons between shores, seasons and fishes, so getting a nice data set from it all. I've collected specimens from three sites on the north yorkshire coast and three sites around the Isle of Anglesey. Already, the differences between Anglesey and North Yorkshire are noticeably different, as is the diet composition between summer and winter. Very interesting stuff!

Andy Horton I have been to Cullercoats beach and I remember noting the prevalence of Idotea and the surprising absence of a Palaemon. But this was just one summer visit.

Douglas Herdson Hi Chris, definitely errant polychaete jaws. They look slightly different to the Nereis diversicolor (now Neanthes?) from the Tees estuary that I was working on in redshank gut contents forty years ago but that could just be my memory. You can find the mass of the worms eaten by measuring the width (widest) of the jaws with a micrometer and calibrate this against the jaws and masses of worms you collect.

Tamsyn MAnn Thought this was quite interesting having a Nudi (Jorunna tomentosa) next to a long spined scorpionfish (Taurulus bubalis)

Chris Barrett As far as I'm aware, turkish bubalis don't predate on nudis, unless Andy Horton or Douglas herdson can say differently?

Chris Barrett Oops, *taurulus. Silly predictive text!!

Andy Horton Taurulus bubalis will probably swallow anything, but nudis are likely to spat out again, but mostly they will not recognise them as food or recognise them at all.

Chris Barrett I dissected a 1.8cm taurulus today- full of calanoid Copepods!!

Andy Horton Text can now be edited.

Tamsyn MAnn Sorry...have made this public...I keep doing that...

Tamsyn MAnn Thought this was quite interesting having a Nudi (Jorunna tomentosa) next to a long spined scorpionfish (Taurulus bubalis)

Chris Barrett As far as I'm aware, turkish bubalis don't predate on nudis, unless Andy Horton or Douglas herdson can say differently?

Chris Barrett Oops, *taurulus. Silly predictive text!!

Andy Horton Taurulus bubalis will probably swallow anything, but nudis are likely to spat out again, but mostly they will not recognise them as food or recognise them at all.

Chris Barrett I dissected a 1.8cm taurulus today- full of calanoid Copepods!!

Andy Horton Text can now be edited.

Tamsyn MAnn Sorry...have made this public...I keep doing that...

Andy Horton MARINE LIFE NEWS BULLETIN TORPEDO (March 2012) MARINE LIFE NEWS BULLETIN TORPEDO (March 2012)Issue 184ISSN 1464-8156 For technical reasons, TORPEDO is no longer being sent out by EMail. It is simply easier to view the bulletins on the web pages. Please find a copy of the bulletin at:http://www.glaucus.org.uk/Torpedo2012March.htm includes Recent Marine Wildlife News Cliff Fall near Dover (with pictures and links)Lesser Octopus on the shore after the big tidesSperm Whale stranding Featured species: A rarely recorded goby discovery off the Scottish coast Coastal feature: Inundated coastline between Bossington and Porlock Wier, Somerset Bristol Channel coastal management MARINE LIFE NEWS BULLETIN TORPEDO INDEXhttp://www.glaucus.org.uk/Torpedo2.htm Please note that the underlined text and photographs will link online to further very interesting pages. This is an important part of the bulletin service and BMLSS web pages. You may have to be alert to spot the links.

David Fenwick Snr Thanks for featuring Lebetus guilleti Andy, well worth keeping an eye out for it on some of the lower tides. I guess it could very easily be mistaken and overlooked for a small Taurulus.

Andy Horton There is a doubt over MY ID of the fish !

Andy Horton Is the front part of the second dorsal fin folded down ?

Andy Horton http://www.flickr.com/photos/jim-anderson/5755298157/in/photostream

Andy Horton http://www.fishbase.org/photos/PicturesSummary.php?StartRow=2&ID=459&what=species&TotRec=8

Andy Horton http://journals.cambridge.org/action/displayAbstract?fromPage=online&aid=4288792

Andy Horton http://www.welshmarinefish.org/WMF_Lebetus_guilleti.html

Andy Horton I have remained with my original ID but put in the query.

Andy Horton The query has now been adjusted to an alternative of Micrenophrys lilljeborgii. Don't look at Fishbase for comparative pics (misleading).

Andy Horton This small goby query has come up before in 1999. http://www.glaucus.org.uk/gobiu.jpg

Andy Horton http://gobyfrontiers.org/gf/eg-109.htm

Andy Horton More research needed with miniature T. bubalis. I first see them (in the past) at 28 mm long.More likely 35 mm long excluding the tail pin TL.

Andy Horton Picture still looks like a goby to me this morning. http://www.flickr.com/photos/jim-anderson/5755298157/in/photostream

Andy Horton Other experts have agreed it is most likely Lebetus.

Andy Horton I spotted some T, bubalis at 20 mm long and less tonight and they look miniature versions of the adults.

Chris Barrett I agree Andy - I think juvenile's still have the characteristic bulky head that the adults do (of T.bubalis, that is). I really doubt this is a Taurulus.

Chris Barrett I will be able to confirm this within a month, when I analyse my fish morphology data - I'll be able to tell you whether their growth is isometric

Chris Barrett Where was this taken? Richard Shucksmith has found Lebetus in the Shetland islands

Andy Rapson I just added a photo of a small (1" Taurulus bubalis). This fish definitely isn't one of those but I do think it is a sculpin and not a goby.

Chris Barrett I agree Andy (Rapson). Not Taurulus, but at the same time, not a goby. The dorsal fins don't look right for a goby

Andy Horton Sound of Luing, Inner Hebrides, south.

Andy Rapson Having spent many hours searching through various books and sites my best (guess) is female or immature Tripterygion delaisi

Andy Horton I finally decided on Lebetus.

Taxonomy
Animalia (Kingdom)
  Chordata (Phylum)
    Vertebrata (Subphylum)
      Gnathostomata (Superclass)
        Pisces (Superclass)
          Actinopterygii (Class)
            Scorpaeniformes (Order)
              Cottidae (Family)
                Taurulus (Genus)
                  Taurulus bubalis (Species)
Associated Species