Latin name

Echiichthys vipera

Other names

Lesser weeverfish, adder pike, black fin, little weever.


It has an elongated body, compressed at the sides; its height exceeds ⅕ of the body length. It is covered with small cycloid scales; the thorax is without scales. The head is small, the snout short. The eyes are small, their diameter is 4-5 times the length of the head; they are located almost on the upper profile of the head. Mouth large, oblique, not protruding. The tip of the upper jaw is set behind a vertical line passing through the posterior edge of the eye. The fine teeth on both jaws are arranged in strips, there are teeth on the scutellum and palate. There are 12-13 gill stamens on the lower part of the first gill arch. A strong barb is located on the gill cover. Spines are absent from the antorbital region and the premaxillary region. There are about 60 scales on the lateral line.

Features of fish fins

The first dorsal fin is short, with 5-8 rigid rays. The long second dorsal fin has 21-24 branched, soft rays. The anal fin has one spiny ray and 24-26 soft rays. The caudal fin is truncated. 

Fish colouring

The upper part of the body is yellowish or brownish, the lower part is white. There are numerous dark spots scattered over the body in the direction of the scale rows. The first dorsal fin is almost entirely black. The posterior edge of the caudal fin is black.


Widespread in tropical and warm temperate waters of the eastern Atlantic Ocean from the North Sea to Morocco, including the Madeira and Canary Islands; and in the Mediterranean Sea.


Bottom-dwelling marine fish. They live in coastal waters over sandy and muddy substrates at depths ranging from a few metres to 150 metres. 


Maximum body length 15 cm, usually up to 10 cm. Maximum weight: 166 g.


Often buried in the ground, with only the eyes and black dorsal fin visible on the surface. Becomes more active at night when feeding.

Food and feeding habits

They feed on crustaceans and small fish. 


Breeds from June to August, laying planktonic eggs 0.04-0.06 inches (1-1.4 mm) in diameter.


No commercial value.

Relationship with a person

Lesser weevers have the first barb on the dorsal fin and a spine on the gill cover with longitudinal grooves at the base of which are venom glands. The venom is not fatal to humans, but a taunt with these spines causes severe pain. This species is considered one of the most dangerous to humans in European waters due to its venomous nature and frequency of occurrence in shallow waters.

Phylum Chordata
Class Actinopterygii
Squad Trachiniformes
Family Trachinidae
Genus Echiichthys
Species E. vipera
Conservation status No information
Habitat Bottom
Life span, years No information
Maximum body weight, kg 0,166
Maximum length, cm 15
Sailing speed, m/s No information
Threat to people Poisonous
Way of eating Predator

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Lesser weever

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