Fish in rockpools


Rockpools can be great places for juvenile fish to hang out in relative safety while the tide is out.


Other fish will stay in rockpools all their lives like rocklings or blennies. 


For fish that have been washed up on the strandline, click here.

Common blenny or Shanny 
Lipophrys pholis


This a common rockpool fish which has large eyes, thick lips and strong fins which can grip the rocks it lives on. Because of its appearance, it is often known as the sea frog.

It has sharp teeth (which can bite fingers) which are strong enough to bite into barnacles or the shells of small molluscs.



Blennies can live out of water as long as their skin stays moist and often hide out in crevices in rocks (top right and below left) when the tide goes out. Their colours ranges from green to deep brown.








Below: a juvenile blenny.

Tiny blenny eggs can be seen on this page.

Montagu's blenny

Coryphoblennius galerita


This little blenny has a crest on its head and generally appears more stripy than the common blenny.

Sea scorpion


Pictured is a juvenile fish although much larger fish can find themselves in rockpools sometimes where they will live and hunt under the cover of sea weed. Sea scorpions are aggressive and will attack and eat fish as large as themselves.


Above, a sea scorpion found in a rock pool - it was not easy to see at all as its colouring caused it to blend superbly into the sand beneath it..
Below are its eyes...


Sea scorpion eyes, peering out of tiny eggs can be seen on this page.

Weever Fish

Echiichthys vipera


These little fish can occasionally be found in rockpools but generally spends its time hidden under the sand of sandy beaches with just its venmous dorsal fin sticking up. Should a person tread on it, the spiky fin will stick into bare flesh and exude painful venom.

Lesser sand eel

Ammodytes tobianus


Silvery and slender, this little fish is not really an eel at all. It is a favourite food of puffins. In the winter, sand eels live buried in the sand.

Worm Pipefish
Nerophis lumbriciformis


This long slender fish has a snout nose and a long thin body. It can be found swimming on rockpools or hiding under stones. It can be greenish or brown and two can often be found together as in the photo below right.

Five-bearded rockllng

Ciliata mustela


The rockling has four barbs on its ;nose' area and another on its chin. It can appear dark brown as on this picture or be more mottled. Found in rocky areas where it feeds on sea snails and worms.

Rock Goby

Gobius paganellus


A chunkier fish with a relatively large head. Distinguishable from blennies by the short first dorsal fin separate from the rear dorsal fin. Often found under rocks. For rock goby eggs, see this page

Cornish Lumpsucker or Shore Clingfish

Lepadogaster lepadogaster


This fish lives on dead plant and animal material and can be found hiding under stones or seaweed.


Pholis gunnellus


This is a small eel-like fish (it is called a rock eel by some) which can often be found hiding under stones. It has distinctive spots along its back which are more visible ons ome fish than others.


Scophthalmus rhombus


This juvenile brill was only a couple of centimetres long but it could grow up to three quarters of a metre long. Brill are flatfish related to turbot.



Not a usual sight in a rockpool, but this young anglerfish found itself trapped in a small rockpool. Being larger, it had nowhere to hide so was vulnerable to predation. 

When I worked as a Beach Ranger with North Devon National Trust (the best job in the world!), this Starry Smoothhound stranded in the shallows on Woolacombe Beach

Sand goby

A male sand goby will guard hundreds of  eggs in a shell.

More on goby eggs can be seen on this page.


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