Overview

Comprehensive Description

Biology

A resident intertidal species with homing behavior (Ref. 32612). Inhabits tide pools and inshore waters on rocky bottoms or among algae at 0-30 m. Can leave tide pools when conditions become inhospitable (Ref. 31184). Feeds on mysids, amphipods (gammarids), decapods, polychaetes, mollusks, ophiuroids and fishes. Breathes air when out of water (Ref. 31184). Information on maximum length for male taken from Ref. 4698.
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Description

 Taurulus bubalis is a distinctive rocky shore fish up to 20 cm in length with a broad bony head that tapers to the tail. The eyes and mouth are very large as this species is an ambush predator. Colour is variable and they can match their surroundings with great accuracy. The head and first dorsal fin are spiny with one very long spine on the cheek.May be confused with the short-spined scorpion fish, Myoxocephalus scorpius, but this species is much larger when full grown and lacks the very long cheek spine and mouth barbel. Taurulus bubalis feeds on crabs, shrimps and fish in shallow water and rockpools and will remain motionless if discovered, relying on its camouflage to avoid detection.
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Description

This is a relatively small sea scorpion which reaches a maximum length of 17.5cm. It has a distinctive barbel at the corners of the mouth and a long spine in front of the gill cover. The lateral line is spiny but there are no spines either side of it. The colour is very variable and changes to camouflage with the surroundings. It is often red with pink mottling when living on rock covered in pink coralline algae and greenish-brown when living amongst brown seaweed. This species is sometimes confused with the bull rout (Myoxocephalus scorpius) but can easily be distinguished by the presence of a barbel at the corners of the mouth. The Norway bullhead (Taurulus lilljeborgi) is very similar but tends to occur in deeper water (below 20m) and is confined to the coasts of Scotland and Northern Ireland. In the Norway bullhead there is a row of spines on the skin above the lateral line.
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Distribution

Eastern Atlantic: Iceland, the Shetlands, from Murmansk southward to Portugal, also Baltic Sea northward to Gulf of Finland and northern Mediterranean coasts eastward to Gulf of Genoa.
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Baltic Sea, North Sea, northwestern Mediterranean Sea, Eastern North Atlantic: Iceland and Norway south to Gibraltar.
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The long-spined sea scorpion is common all around the coasts of Britain and Ireland.
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Physical Description

Size

Maximum size: 175 mm SL
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Max. size

17.5 cm SL (male/unsexed; (Ref. 3397)); 25 cm (female)
  • Bauchot, M.-L. 1987 Poissons osseux. p. 891-1421. In W. Fischer, M.L. Bauchot and M. Schneider (eds.) Fiches FAO d'identification pour les besoins de la pêche. (rev. 1). Méditerranée et mer Noire. Zone de pêche 37. Vol. II. Commission des Communautés Européennes and FAO, Rome. (Ref. 3397)   http://www.fishbase.org/references/FBRefSummary.php?id=3397&speccode=2504 External link.
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Diagnostic Description

Longest spine on the front gill cover reaches backwards to a point below the foremost part of the dorsal fin. Gill membranes joined to the throat, no bony knobs above or under the rough lateral line (Ref. 35388).
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Ecology

Habitat

Environment

demersal; non-migratory; brackish; marine; depth range 0 - 200 m (Ref. 58496)
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Depth range based on 3693 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 740 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): -9 - 96
  Temperature range (°C): 4.544 - 12.243
  Nitrate (umol/L): 1.615 - 10.140
  Salinity (PPS): 6.666 - 35.352
  Oxygen (ml/l): 5.823 - 8.372
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.262 - 0.669
  Silicate (umol/l): 1.488 - 12.424

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): -9 - 96

Temperature range (°C): 4.544 - 12.243

Nitrate (umol/L): 1.615 - 10.140

Salinity (PPS): 6.666 - 35.352

Oxygen (ml/l): 5.823 - 8.372

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.262 - 0.669

Silicate (umol/l): 1.488 - 12.424
 
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.

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 On rocky ground, amongst algae from the intertidal to depths of 30 m.
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Depth: 0 - 30m.
Recorded at 30 meters.

Habitat: demersal.
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The long-spined sea scorpion is common in rockpools and beneath seaweed on the low shore and also sublittorally amongst seaweed covered rock down to 30m depth. It feeds on small bottom-living fish and crustaceans.
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Trophic Strategy

Inhabits tidepools and inshore waters on rocky bottoms or among algae at 0-30 m. Can leave tidepools when conditions become inhospitable (Ref. 31184). Carnivorous, preys voraciously on moving animals which are swallowed whole (Ref. 46230). Feeds on mysids, amphipods (gammarids), decapods, polychaetes, mollusks, ophiuroids and fishes. Short-lived species (Ref. 46230).
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Taurulus bubalis

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 3
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Threats

Not Evaluated
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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Importance

fisheries: of no interest; aquarium: public aquariums
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Wikipedia

Taurulus bubalis

Taurulus bubalis, known as the longspined bullhead or the longspined sea-scorpion, is a coastal fish of the sculpin family Cottidae, inhabiting waters of Northern Europe.

Description[edit]

The longspined bullhead is a small fish with a thick, tapering body and a large head and resembles the shorthorn sculpin (Myoxocephalus scorpius). It has two spines on each side on the gill cover, the front one extending further than the rear one. The skin is not clad in scales. There is a row of bony tubercles running along the flank on the lateral line and there are backward sloping bony tubercles on the crown of the head. It has a variety of colours ranging from shades of brown or olive green, with cream blotches and four dark, vertical bands. The belly is pale bluish-green but becomes suffused with red in males in the breeding season.[1]

Behavior[edit]

Bullhead are predators that will eat prawns, molluscs and small fish such as gobies and blennies. Despite their small size they are aggressive and will attack fish bigger than themselves. They lie in wait for prey, camouflaged against rocks and weed before striking out at anything that passes. Like all fish in the Cottidae family, the bullhead does not have a swim bladder, meaning that it sinks as soon as it stops swimming. Breeding takes place in early spring and fertilisation is internal, however the reproduction of this species has been little studied.[1]

Other names[edit]

Other English names for this species include sea scorpion, bullhead, rockfish, rock sculpin, scorpion fish, clobberhead.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Longspined bullhead: Taurulus bubalis". NatureGate. Retrieved 2013-12-16. 
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