Shore rockling

Shore rockling

Shore rockling by Paul Naylor

Shore rockling

Scientific name: Gaidropsarus mediterraneus
These large rocky shore fish look like they belong in deeper waters, but they are the find of the day for any rockpooler!

Species information


Up to 25cm long.

Conservation status


When to see

April - October.


There are a few species of rockling, two of the most commonly seen being the shore and five-bearded rocklings. Both species can grow large for rocky shore fish. They are often confused with eels or other species, as they have slippery black skin, a long dorsal fin and barbels sticking out of their faces.

How to identify

Body colour is dark brown to black, with three face barbels – one below the chin and two above the top lip.


Common around South West Britain.

Did you know?

Rocklings are usually found under large rocks on the lower shore, stranded out of the water. They are able to stay alive by staying in the dark and damp, allowing them to keep a moist coating around their skin!

How people can help

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. If you want to learn more about our rockpool life, Wildlife Trusts around the UK run rockpool safaris and offer Shoresearch training - teaching you to survey your local rocky shore. The data collected is then used to protect our coasts and seas through better management or through the designation of Marine Protected Areas.