Skip to main content

 

Marine Life (including fish)

County Recorder: Gen Broad



Flickr Search


Species list

Allis Shad
Allis Shad

Allis Shad Alosa alosa

A herring-like, planktivorous fish with silvery white sides and a deep blue colouration on its back. The Allis Shad is a coastal species recorded from many areas around the British Isles. Known spawning populations exist in the River Tamar with other possible spawning sites in the English and Bristol Channels and the Solway Firth. Image: Koelner50 (WikiMedia).

Find out more: iNaturalist, Marine Life Information Centre

Angel Shark
Angel shark

Angel Shark Squatina squatina

With its flat body, broad trunk and large, very high pectoral fins, Squatina squatina resembles a large ray more than a shark. Its skin is grey to reddish or greenish-brown and is scattered with small white spots and blackish dots. Whisker-like nasal barbels project from near the nostrils. Image: Jome Jome (iNaturalist).

Find out more: iNaturalist, Marine Life Information Centre

Atlantic Cod
cod

Atlantic Cod Gadus morhua

Atlantic cod are commonly found on sandy bottoms and are often mottled brown in appearance. This is a heavy and powerful fish with three dorsal and two anal fins, all slightly rounded, and either a square or rounded tail fin. A prominent curved, white (or very pale) lateral line makes this species easy to identify. Image: Joachim S. Müller (iNaturalist).

Find out more: iNaturalist, Marine Life Information Centre

Atlantic Halibut
halibut

Atlantic Halibut Hippoglossus hippoglossus

The Atlantic halibut is the largest flatfish in the world reaching up to 2.5 m in length. Both eyes are positioned close together on its right side and it has a gaping mouth which extends back as far as the eyes. Image: Joachim S Müller (iNaturalist).

Find out more: iNaturalist, Marine Life Information Centre

Atlantic Herring
a shoal of Atlantic Herring

Atlantic Herring Clupea harengus

A streamlined shoaling fish. The overall colouring of the body is silver but a darker blue iridescence is present over the upper half of the body. The body is deeper than it is wide, which improves the streamlined nature of the fish. Their fins are not bony, like in many other fish, but are soft. Image: Joachim S. Müller (iNaturalist).

Find out more: iNaturalist, Marine Life Information Centre

Atlantic Mackerel
Mackerel

Atlantic Mackerel Scomber scombrus

A streamlined, fast-swimming fish that is found in dense shoals that move as one. Mackerel migrate to shallower inshore waters in the summer and feed on zooplankton and small fish, particularly sand eels. They are identifiable by the beautiful tiger-like markings on their backs. Image: Brent Wilson (iNaturalist).

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

Basking Shark
a basking shark feeding

Basking Shark Cetorhinus maximusrinus

The basking shark is the second largest fish in our oceans - its relative the whale shark being the biggest. Despite their size, basking sharks only feed on zooplankton which they filter out of the water, swimming slowly back and forth with their enormous mouths wide open. Image: Green Fire Productions (iNaturalist).

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

Blue Shark
Blue shark

Blue Shark Prionace glauca

It's easy to see where the blue shark got its name from. These sleek, elegant sharks have beautiful metallic blue backs which provide brilliant camouflage out in the open ocean. Image: Tom Bisko (iNaturalist).

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

Blue-fin Tuna
tuna

Blue-fin Tuna Thunnus thynnus

One of the largest bony fish in the world, the northern bluefin tuna has a very streamlined and powerful body. It can reach up to 300 cm in length and weigh over 450 kg. It can sometimes be found off the eastern, southern and south-western coasts of the British Isles. Image: Tom Puchner (iNaturalist).

Find out more: iNaturalist, Marine Life Information Centre

Brown or Sea Trout
brown trout

Brown or Sea Trout Salmo trutta

A fierce predator of small fish and flying insects, the brown trout is widespread in our freshwater rivers and coastal areas around Britain and Ireland. While trout are considered a freshwater species they are also found in saltwater, the difference comes from the fact that although all trout hatch in freshwater some migrate to the sea and may live there for years (sea trout). It is has a golden body, flanked with pale-ringed, dark spots. Image: Christa Rohrback (iNaturalist).

Find out more: Suffolk Wildlife Trust, iNaturalist

Common Skate
a common skate

Common Skate Dipturus batis

The largest species of skate in the world, the common skate is also one of Britain's largest fish species. They live on sandy or muddy seabeds, down to depths of 600m. Whilst mostly feeding on crustaceans, they have the speed and manoeuvrability to catch species such as mackerel too. Image: Gonzalo Mucientes Sandova (iNaturalist).

Find out more: Suffolk Wildlife Trust, iNaturalist, Marine Life Information Centre

European Hake
hake

European Hake Merluccius merluccius

Merluccius merluccius has an elongate body that may reach up to 1.3 m in length. It has a dark blue dorsal colouring but is silvery-grey underneath. It has been observed using its pectoral and pelvic fins to dig into soft sandy substrates, often throwing sand onto their backs. Image: Guido Schmitz (iNaturalist).

Find out more: iNaturalist, Marine Life Information Centre

Horse Mackerel
horse mackerel

Horse Mackerel Trachurus trachurus

The horse mackerel Trachurus trachurus is a slender schooling species that may reach up to 60 cm in length. Image: Tom Puchner (iNaturalist).

Find out more: iNaturalist, Marine Life Information Centre

Lesser Sand Eel
Puffin with a beak full of sand eels

Lesser Sand Eel (Raitt's Sand Eel) Ammodytes marinus

They are distinctively slender with a pointed snout - giving them an eel-like shape. Between April and September they swim in large shoals close to the seabed and will burrow into the sand to escape predators. They are an incredibly important part of the marine ecosystem and are a favourite food of puffins, harbour porpoises, terns, pollack and mackerel. Image: Steve Higgins (Flickr).

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

Ling
Ling

Ling Molva molva

Molva molva is the largest fish of the cod family, growing up to 200 cm in length and 30 kg in weight. Both its head and eyes are small and the upper jaw projects beyond the lower. The lower jaw bears a distinct sensory barbel. Image: Guido Schmitz (iNaturalist).

Find out more: iNaturalist, Marine Life Information Centre

Long-snouted Seahorse
a long-snouted seahorse

Long-snouted Seahorse Hippocampus guttulatus

Also known as the spiny seahorse, the long-snouted seahorse is recognisable by the fleshy mane on its neck and back. They live in shallow coastal waters and are pretty poor swimmers, relying on their prehensile tail to cling onto seaweed and seagrass to stop themselves being swept away. Image: Kim Maidment (Flickr).

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

Plaice
Plaice

Plaice Pleuronectes platessa

Plaice is a diamond-shaped flatfish that lives on sandy seabeds all around the UK. Their mottled colouration provides excellent camouflage against sandy seabeds and are often only spotted once they move. Image: Poul Erik Rasmussen (iNaturalist).

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

Porbeagle Shark
Porbeagle Shark

Porbeagle Shark Lamna nasus

This large shark is usually found in deeper water, where it hunts a variety of smaller fish including mackerel, whiting and herring, as well as octopus, squid and cuttlefish. They are strong swimmers and tagging studies have shown that they can travel huge distances. Image: Clinton Duffy (iNaturalist).

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

Sea Lamprey
lamprey

Sea Lamprey Petromyzon marinus

Lampreys belong to a group of vertebrates known as Agnatha which means 'jawless fish'. Their mouth is a toothed circular sucking disk. They have long elongated eel-like bodies. The back and sides of Petromyzon marinus have a distinctly mottled colour pattern with a brown-yellow dorsal and lateral colouring.  Image: T. Lawrence Great Lakes Fishery Commission (Flickr).

Find out more: iNaturalist, Marine Life Information Centre

Sea Monkfish
sea monkfish

Sea Monkfish (Angler) Lophius piscatorius

This is a very distinctive fish, recognizable by having its head and body depressed, a wide mouth, broad head and a fleshy 'lure' at the end of its first dorsal spine, which is used to attract prey. Its colour can be variable but is principally brown or greeny brown with reddish or dark brown mottlings. Image: Poul Erik Rasmussen (iNaturalist).

Find out more: iNaturalist, Marine Life Information Centre

Short-snouted Seahorse
short-snouted seahorse

Short-snouted Seahorse Hippocampus hippocampus

Short-snouted seahorses are found in shallow waters, often in estuaries or associated with seagrass meadows. They don't have teeth and simply suck up their favourite prey of small shrimp and plankton. They are usually brownish in colour and lack the fleshy "mane" seen in the Spiny Seahorse. Image: Hans Hillewaert (Flickr).

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

Smelt
Smelt

Smelt Osmerus eperlanus

Osmerus eperlanus is an elongate fish reaching up to 45 cm. The smelt has a light olive green back and a creamy white belly, with a silvery stripe on the flanks. Image: Grigory Evtukh (iNaturalist).

Find out more: iNaturalist, Marine Life Information Centre

Sole
Sole

Sole Solea solea

Solea solea is a strongly compressed flatfish with eyes and snout on the right hand side. It is oval in shape with a rounded head and can grow up to 70 cm. The colour of a sole can vary between grey, reddish brown and grey-brown with dark blotches. Image: Pierre Corbrion (iNaturalist).

Find out more: iNaturalist, Marine Life Information Centre

Spiny Dogfish
spiny dogfish

Spiny Dogfish (White-spotted Dogfish) Squalus acanthias

The spiny dogfish or spurdog Squalus acanthias is a small member of the dogfish family reaching up to 1.6 m in length. It has a grey to brown dorsal colouring and a much paler belly. It can easily be distinguished from similar species by conspicuous white spots covering the entire body. Image: Guido Schmitz (iNaturalist).

Find out more: iNaturalist, Marine Life Information Centre

Tope Shark
Tope Shark

Tope Shark (School Shark) Galeorhinus galeus

This slender and elegant shark species is often found close to shore all around our coasts and can grow up to 6 feet long. They feed on a variety of fish species but will also take crustaceans or cephalopods if the opportunity arises. Tagging studies have shown that Tope can travel huge distances. Image: Clinton Duffy (iNaturalist).

Find out more: Suffolk Wildlife Trust, iNaturalist, Marine Life Information Centre

Twaite Shad
Twaite Shad

Twaite Shad Alosa fallax

Alosa fallax is a member of the herring family. It is a planktivorous fish with silvery white sides and a deep blue colouration on its back. Like other shads its upper jaw is distinctly notched in the mid line and the gill cover has distinct radiating ridges. Image: Hans Hillewaert (Flickr).

Find out more: iNaturalist, Marine Life Information Centre

Undulate Ray
Undulate ray

Undulate Ray (Undulate Skate) Raja undulata

The undulate ray has beautiful wavy patterns on its back, which helps it camouflage against the sandy seabed. Although it is commonly called the undulate ray, it is actually a species of skate (sometimes known as the undulate skate). Image: Manuel Martinez (iNaturalist).

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

White or Bottlenosed Skate
White Skate

White or Bottlenosed Skate (Owl Skate) Rostroraja alba

The white or bottlenosed skate Leucoraja circularis is a very large skate and can grow up to 2.3 m in length. It has a dorsoventrally flattened body with eyes and spiracles at the top of the head. It has a very pointed snout. The tail starts from angular pectoral discs. Its dorsal region is grey in colour with small white spots, while the underside is white. Image: Dennis Rabeling (iNaturalist).

Find out more: iNaturalist, Marine Life Information Centre

Whiting
whiting

Whiting Merlangius merlangus

The whiting Merlangius merlangus is a cod-like fish. It has an elongated body with a small head and a pointed snout. It can grow up to 70 cm in length. It has a blue-green upper colouring and is silvery-white underneath. It has three dorsal fins and two anal fins. Image: Biopix (iNaturalist).

Find out more: iNaturalist, Marine Life Information Centre

Starlet sea-anemone
starlet sea-anemone

Starlet sea-anemone Nematostella vectensis

A tiny anemone rarely more than 1.5 cm in length. Translucent and colourless in appearance except for variable patterns of opaque white on the column and disk. Tentacles large in proportion to the body, colourless and translucent with pale tips and with faint transverse bars and irregular flecks of white. Image: Robert Aguilar, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (Flickr).

Find out more: iNaturalist, Marine Life Information Centre



Species-based card indexes covering published records (mainly from TSNS) are held for most groups of Marine Fauna. The CEFAS Laboratories at Lowestoft have records of fish stocks and some other marine fauna from the North Sea.

Further information on recording and identification can be found on the MarLIN website. Recording in recent years by Seasearch has added greatly to our knowledge of offshore fauna.


Major Publications

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


Marine fauna off the coast of East Anglia. J.R. Ellis & S.I. Rogers (1999 TSNS 35: 45)

Other papers from Suffolk Natural History

Marine Fishes of the south-western North Sea. G. Broad & J.R. Ellis (2020) Open
Marine Recorder Report 2019. G. Broad (2019) Open
Strandline shells found on Stour estuary. G. Broad (2019) Open
Marine Recorder’s Report 2016 and 2017. G. Broad (2017) Open
Goose Barnacle Lepas anatifera on lost trawl netting in the southern North Sea. J.R. Ellis (2016) Open
Stranding of the hydroid Nemertesia antennina (L.) (Cnidaria: Hydroidomedusa) on the Suffolk coast. J. Bowdrey (2014) Open
Notes on Marine life. G. Broad (2011) Open
Notes on unusual fish off the Suffolk coast: Atlantic Bonito Sarda sarda and Greater Weever Trachinus draco. J.R. Ellis (2012) Open
Blackfish Centrolophus niger (Centrolophidae) off the Suffolk coast. J.R. Ellis (2010) Open
Bogue (Boops boops) in the southern North Sea. J.R. Ellis & M. Eade (2007) Open
Occurrence of exotic fishes in East Anglian waters: Porcupinefish Diodon histrix and Piranha Pygocentrus sp. J.R. Ellis (2006) Open
The occurrence of Mantis Shrimp Rissoides desmaresti (Crustacea: Stomatopoda) off the Suffolk coast. J.R. Ellis, K. Warr, K. Cooper & I.J. de Boois (2006) Open
Records of the introduced amphipod Grandidierella japonica Stephensen 1938 (Crustacea: Amphipoda: Gammaridea: Aoridae) from the Orwell Estuary, Suffolk. C. Ashelby (2006) Open
An abnormal Thornback Ray Raja clavata with additional pectoral fins. J.R. Ellis (2005) Open
The occurrence of Thresher Shark off the Suffolk coast. J.R. Ellis (2004) Open
Harbour Porpoise found on beach P.G. Lawson (2002) Open
Going Places: Following fish – how we learn about fish migration at sea. J. Metcalfe (1999) Open
The colonisation of Havergate Island, Suffolk by the Starlet Sea Anemone, Nematostella vectensis. W. Welstead & M.E. Shardlow (1999) Open
Suffolk's first Striped Dolphin, Stenella coeruleoalba (Meyen) and second Fin Whale, Balaenoptera physalus (Linnaeus). H. Mendel & D.J. Lampard (1991) Open
The Suffolk estuaries. C. Beardall (1991) Open
Seaweed communities on the artificial coastline of south eastern England. 1. Reclaimed saline wetland and estuaries. I Tittley (1985) Open
Population Dynamics of the Cockle Cerastoderma edule in the Stour Estuary. F.N. Sharp (1978) Open
Rare or Unusual Fish, 1968. R.W. Blacker (1969) Open
Royal Fish. Lord Cranbrook (1953) Open
Eliminius modestus. J. Collins (1959) Open
An Investigation of the Mud Fauna of the Stour Estuary. F. Bull, H. Honeyman & S. Knott (1959) Open
On a Marine Aquarium. D.W. Collings (1948) Open
The Actiniaria (Sea-Anemones) of Suffolk. D.W. Collings (1938) Open
Great Squids. M.R. Taylor (1932) Open
Star-fish and Sea-urchins, with List of local species. G. Lombard (1930) Open
Portugese Men-of-war. Cooper, C.G. Doughty, P. Laver & M.R. Taylor (1930) Open


Help with species identification


User login