Dorsal and anal fins united to the caudal.
C. Liparis, Linn. Syst. Nat. torn. i. p. 414. Block, Ichth. pl. 123. f. 3. Don. Brit. Fish. vol. ii. pl. 47. Turt. Brit. Faun. p. 115. Liparis nostras, Will. Hist. Pise. App. p. 17. tab. H. 6. fig. 1. Liparis vulgaris, Flem. Brit. An. p. 190. Unctuous Sucker, Penn. Brit. Zool. vol. iii. p. 135. pl. 21. no. 58. Id. (Edit. 1812). vol. in. p. 179! pl. 24.
From three to five inches.
(Form). Body elongated, thick and rounded anteriorly, but much compressed behind: belly very protuberant: head large, broad, a little depressed in front, and somewhat inflated about the gills; its length contained about four times and a half in the entire length: snout blunt and rounded: mouth moderately large; upper lip with two short cirri: in each jaw a band of rasp-like teeth: tongue thick and fleshy: eyes small, and rather high on the cheeks: nostrils double: gill-opening very small; the opercle produced behind into a cartilaginous spine: head and body every-where covered with a smooth, soft, naked, unctuous, semi-transparent, skin: dorsal fin commencing a little behind the nape, and extending to the base of the caudal, with which it is just united; rays slender and simple, the anterior ones rather shorter than those which follow, but on the whole the rays nearly of a length: anal commencing at about half the length of the body, and also uniting to the caudal, but at a point beyond that at which the dorsal terminates: caudal slightly rounded: pectorals large, extending downwards and forwards to unite under the throat; two or three rays, just at the turn of the fin beneath the body, very much elongated, and considerably produced beyond those on each side of them: ventral disk concave, and nearly circular; placed on the throat, and partly encircled by the pectorals; the circumference set with twelve or thirteen flattened tubercles, the central portion impressed with four or five curved lines branching out on each side of a longitudinal diameter:
D. 36; A. 26; C. 12; P. 32‡.
(Colours). "Pale brown, sometimes finely streaked with darker brown." Penn. In a variety, met with by Donovan, " the head and body were strongly marked with longitudinal streaks and waves of white, edged with blue, and disposed on a ground of testaceous or rather chestnut-colour." It is observed by this last author, that this species " differs very considerably in colour at different seasons of the year, as well as in its various stages of growth: small specimens have occurred in which the sides and belly were white; in some pale yellow, and in others rosy; the sides of the head usually partaking of the same tints as those of the body".
* Hist. Pise. p. 209. tab. N. 10. fig. 2.
† Gen. Zool. vol. v. part ii. p. 390. pl. 167.
‡ The above fin-ray formula is from Donovan.
Common on many parts of the coast, and generally found near the mouths of rivers. When taken out of the water, said rapidly to dissolve and melt away. Food, according to Bloch, aquatic insects, young shells, and small fish. Spawns early in the year: found by Pennant heavy with roe in January. Arrives at a much larger size in the northern seas than in our own.