Lesser weever

Lesser weever by Paul Naylor

Lesser weever fish

Scientific name: Echiichthys vipera
One of the only venomous fish to be found in British waters, the lesser weever fish is certainly one to watch out for!

Species information

Statistics

Up to 15cm long.

Conservation status

Common.

When to see

June - October.

About

There are two species of weever fish, lesser and great. And they are some of the only poisonous fish in UK waters. They spend most of their lives buried in the sand, but when disturbed, they shoot up their black dorsal fin in defence, injecting a painful poison into unsuspecting victims!

How to identify

Upturned, grumpy mouth, with a deep yellowish body tapering down towards the tail. Eyes sit on top of the head as the rest of the body is usually buried in the sand. Black dorsal fin contains the poison, along with spines on gill covers.

Distribution

Found all around Britain, most common in south and south west.

Did you know?

If you are stung by a weever fish, then place the body part in as hot water as you can bear, as quickly as possible. After 15 minutes or so, the pain should ease.

How people can help

To avoid being stung, you should always wear beach shoes when paddling in sandy waters! Always follow the Seashore Code when rockpooling, be careful to leave everything as you found it - replace any rocks you turn over, put back any crabs or fish and ensure not to scrape anything off its rocky home.