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Apletodon pellegrini

(Chabanaud, 1925)

Tony Gilbert Not a particularly good shot, but it was the first of two images as the clingfish was becoming jittery, and hopped away into the turf below somewhere. I've currently got this down as a Lepadogaster lepadogaster. It was photographed in North Wales last week, on kelp, and is about 1cm. According to some sources the blue-spot clingfish is a more southern species in the UK. http://www.flickr.com/photos/tonyjgilbert-images/7256775186/in/set-72157629874112926

João Pedro Silva I don't think this is Lepadogaster lepadogaster. I'm not even sure if this is from the Lepadogaster genus.

João Pedro Silva Here's a typical L. lepadogaster: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jpsilva1971/6751623235/

João Pedro Silva It looks like Apletodon pellegrini but it would be a long way from "home". Or maybe "home" is wider.

Andy Horton I have been to Treaddur Bay (I think this might have been with the Porcupine Society, or the Coelenterate Society?). I would ID this as Small-headed Clingfish, Apletodon dentatus. http://www.glaucus.org.uk/sucker.htm

João Pedro Silva Thanks, Andy!

Tony Gilbert Thanks Andy and Joao. Sorry I've not replied sooner, was diving in Oban last weekend, and busy all this week. The picture I've seen of Apletodon isn't similar. But I'll take a look at the others you've sent me etc. According to Paul Kay's book, Apletodon dentatus there are only a few confirmed records in Welsh waters, and can be confused with the two-spot clingfish.

Tony Gilbert Just my luck to spot another clingfish, this time in Loch Creran last weekend: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tonyjgilbert-images/7288632762/in/set-72157629938854244 It has two light spots one each behind the pectoral fins, but of course I am still skeptical of its identity. Found in 12m in the Loch, on rock about 15cm away from kelp stype/holdfast base.

Andy Horton Interesting. these two fish get muddled up. I have never discovered one form Sussex with the two spots.

Chris Barrett I've also found Liparis montagui around Anglesey (Rhosneigr)

Tony Gilbert Very lucky Chris, I know one diver who found one under the Straits suspension brdige.

Douglas Herdson I have found a number of these small clingfish within kelp holdfasts etc. However, as far as I can tell it is very difficult to tell Small-headed clingfish Apletodon dentatus from female (and juvenile?) two-spotted clingfish Diplecogaster bimaculata (the males normally have one or two large lateral spots). The main character for separating them appears to be the presence of canine teeth in the lower jaw of Apletodon. So in most cases the definitive ID is impossible without killing the animal.

Tony Gilbert Yes, I can imagine that sometimes positive ID on a specimen is not possible in the field, and only taking it out and examining it (possibly resulting in death) is the answer. In my case, photos only :-). Thanks for your time.

João Pedro Silva Tony, next time ask the fish to say "Cheese" for the photo. You'll then get the teeth :)

Tony Gilbert I will, but after a couple of shots my buddy had disappeared into the gloom, so my priorities changed :-)

Message posted on Seasearch Identifications on 24 May 2012
Animalia (Kingdom)
  Chordata (Phylum)
    Vertebrata (Subphylum)
      Gnathostomata (Superclass)
        Pisces (Superclass)
          Actinopterygii (Class)
            Gobiesociformes (Order)
              Gobiesocidae (Family)
                Apletodon (Genus)
                  Apletodon pellegrini (Species)
Associated Species