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Fish (freshwater)

County Recorder: Phil Strachan (contact by mail only)



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Species list

European Eel
European eel

European Eel Anguilla anguilla

The eel is a very long, narrow fish that can grow to over a metre in length. It looks smooth and lacks the obvious scales and gills of other fish. It is famous for both its slippery nature and its mammoth migration from its freshwater home to the Sargasso Sea where it breeds. Image: Mattia (iNaturalist).

Find out more: Suffolk Wildlife TrustiNaturalist, Marine Life Information Network

River Lamprey
river lamprey

River Lamprey Lampetra fluviatilis

The river lamprey is a primitive, jawless fish, with a round, sucker-mouth which it uses to attach to other fish to feed from them. They have long elongated eel-like bodies and can be recognised by their gills which open directly to each side of the head and form a line of seven gill holes behind the eye. Adults live in the sea and return to freshwater to spawn. Image: Hans Hillewaert (iNaturalist).

Find out more: Suffolk Wildlife TrustiNaturalist, Marine Life Information Network

Spined Loach
Spined Loach

Spined Loach Cobitis taenia

The Spined loach possesses the ability to utilise intestinal breathing. This is a stop-gap measure that sustains the spined loach when the water around it is oxygen-poor. At the water's surface it swallows air that brings oxygen into the intestine. Image: Sergey Yeliseev (Flickr).

Find out more: iNaturalist



Efforts were made to assess the status of the smaller, 'non-stocked' species such as Minnow, Bullhead, Sticklebacks Lampreys and Stone Loach. Although there was a good response from some individuals, contacts with Angling Clubs were disappointing with very few bothering to send in records. There are currently about 18000 records on the SBIS Database. In an effort to improve our knowledge of these fish SWT ran the Suffolk Tiddler Survey in 2002. A checklist of the main freshwater fish species in England and Wales can be found here The Environment Agency and some water companies collect data on fish stocks in the major river systems.


Major Publications

The Fishes of Suffolk. D.W. Collings (1932 TSNS 2: 104)

Other papers from Suffolk Natural History

Brook lamprey found in Suffolk. E. Parsons (1992) Open
Anglers are naturalists. R.B. Rickards (1991) Open
Wildlife conservation and angling – conflict or integration. P.S. Maitland (1991) Open
The fish of the River Stour, Suffolk. C.R. Kennedy, R. Burrough, C. Aves & J. Landsberg (1975) Open
Mapping the Distribution of Freshwater Fish in the British Isles. P.S. Maitland (1970) Open
On the Distribution of Trout in Suffolk, with Observations respecting its Economy. H. Andrews (1933) Open


For images of Suffolk Priority species see our Pinterest Board


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