Latin name

Myoxocephalus scorpius

Other names

Bull-rout, father-lasher.


The head is broad and spiny, the body is strong and scaleless. There are two conspicuous spines in front of the gill covers: the upper one is longer than the lower one, but smaller than the diameter of the eyes. There are several small spines below and above the lateral line on the body.

Features of fish fins

Pectoral fins large; pelvic fins with long rays. Dorsal rays (total): 7-11; Dorsal soft rays (total): 13-19; Anal spines: 0; Anal soft rays: 9-15; Vertebrae: 34-39. Caudal fin rounded.

Fish colouring

Colouration is highly variable within the species and may be camouflage. From above the fish is greenish brown, often with dark spots and bright milky white spots above the pectoral fins; underside is cherry red (males) or light orange (females) with white spots; fins with dark stripes.


Widespread off the south-eastern coasts of Greenland, Iceland, the British Isles, the European coast north of the Baltic Sea, the Barents, Kara and Baltic Seas, and along the coast of Murmansk and the White Sea.


It inhabits rocky, sandy and muddy bottoms at depths ranging from 2 to 60 metres.


Length averages up to 35-40 cm, exceptionally up to 60 cm, usually 15 to 30 cm.


Inhabit the seas and bays, live near the shore.

Food and feeding habits

Feeds on a variety of invertebrates, but mainly crustaceans and small fish.


The breeding season runs from December to March. The female lays orange eggs in clusters in crevices and underwater vegetation near the shore or in shallow coastal waters. During the spawning season, the underside of the male becomes dark red with white spots. After several females have laid eggs, the male remains to guard the eggs. The eggs take 5 to 12 weeks to develop before the fry emerge. The maximum reported age is 18 years.


It has no commercial value.

Relationship with a person

Harmless to humans. Used in aquariums.

Phylum Chordata
Class Actinopterygii
Squad Scorpaeniformes
Family Cottidae
Genus Myoxocephalus
Species M. scorpius
Conservation status Least Concern
Habitat Bottom
Life span, years 18
Maximum body weight, kg No information
Maximum length, cm 60
Sailing speed, m/s No information
Threat to people Edible
Way of eating Predator

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