Small-Headed Clingfish - Species Spotlight

Small-Headed Clingfish - Species Spotlight

Small-headed clingfish (Apletodon dentatus) 

This species has been the rarest find of the Ulster Wildlife Intertidal Survey, and was found on our first survey!

The Small-Headed Clingfish (Apletodon dentatus) is known as a ‘clingfish’ because they cling to the underside of rocks on the lower shore or rock pools. They have adapted pelvic fins that form a suction cup that allows them to cling to the rocks in their habitat.  

How To Spot A Clingfish

This very small fish (with a maximum length of just 40mm!) has a flattened body with a triangular shaped head. These fish are often a green/brown colour with pale patches across their back and also between their eyes. If you get a very close photograph, you may also see some small blue speckles! 

Small-headed clingfish

Small-headed clingfish (Apletodon dentatus) 

A Rarity In in Northern Ireland!

Earlier in the year, the Living Seas team found the first ever record of this species in Northern Ireland, and only the third record for the island of Ireland! Because this species has never been recorded the species could potentially be an indicator of climate change, as they can be found in the south and west coasts of the UK, or it could be just under-recorded.  

The only way to find out more about this species in NI is by going out to our shores and looking out for this cool and rare species, and you can do this by taking part in our Big Rockpool Ramble this weekend! 

The Big Rockpool Ramble Guide & Downloads are FREE!

But by making a donation, however large or small, you are contributing to our marine conservation work across Northern Ireland.