Gurnard, Red

by David Proudfoot

Aspitriela caculus

species ID red gurnard

Photo courtesy of Dale

Other names
Distinguishing features

The red gurnard, like others in this family has a sloping, hard bony head with spines on it and the gill plates. It has a stocky, tapered body with large scales along the lateral line. The pectoral fins are adapted to provide additional sense organs and the first three rays are thick and separate. The head is slightly concave and the pectoral fins only just reach the vent. The back and sides are deep red merging into pinkish silver on the underside.


Can attain a length of 40 cm and a weight of around 1.3 kilo.

British Record Fish List

UK Shore Record: 2lb 10oz 11dms / 1.209kgs
UK Boat Record: 3lb 2oz 2dms / 1.421kgs

Found in the southern east Atlantic and English Channel as well as the Mediterranean in depths of between 20 and 250 metres. The red gurnard prefers seabeds of sand or sand and gravel although it will spend time on mud and rocky ground.


This gurnard feeds on shrimps and small crabs together with small fish and worms.


Fish strips are the most common bait for the red gurnard but they will take peeler crab and ragworm on occasion.

species ID red gurnard

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