Tadpole Fish

by David Proudfoot

Raniceps raninus

tadpole fish

Thanks to Gethyn Owen for the image

Distinguishing features

Thick stumpy body with a broad head which is almost as broad as it is long. It has a single chin barbel and a tiny first dorsal fin with only three small rays. The second dorsal and anal fins are long and almost reach the tail. It is brown to reddish-brown colour on the back and a grey-ish white underneath. The lips and mouth are stand out white and the edges of the fins are light in colour.


Maximum length is around 30cm with a weight of around 0.75kg.

British Record Fish List

UK Boat Record: 1lb 6oz 4dms / 0.630kgs
UK Shore Record: 1lb 12oz 0dms / 0.793kgs

It is found all round the UK coastline, the English Channel and in the North Sea up to the Arctic Circle coast of Norway. Generally inhabits the shallow coastal waters and prefers mixed ground with mud and rock cover.


The tadpole-fish feeds mainly on shrimps, worms and small fish.


Difficult to target this species but small fish baits and worms have accounted for this species.

tadpole fish

Thanks to Carl Gwarek for the image



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