Grey Gurnard (Eutrigla gurnardus) – Profile | Traits | Facts

Grey gurnard
(Last Updated On: April 13, 2021)

The Grey gurnard, scientific name Eutrigla gurnardus is a species of sea robin in the eastern Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean, and the Black Sea.

Grey Gurnard Profile

This fish is found at depths ranging from 10 to 340 meters (33 to 1,115 feet) although it is usually not found below 150 meters (490 feet).

Grey gurnard grows up to 60 cm (24 in) in total length, though generally reaching up to 30 cm (12 in). This species is the only known member of its genus. In Ireland, this fish is called coke fish, coral, or node.

Eutrigla gurnardus is a big member of the ocean robin family reaching as much as 30 cm (and barely as much as 50 cm) in size. It has a big head with a sloping brow and a body that tapers in the direction of the tail.

Two dorsal fins are present on the back. The first, which is far smaller than the second has 7-10 spines and a big black mark close to the top. The second dorsal fin and its symmetrical anal fin counterpart each have 18-20 rays.

The pectoral fins are brief and barely attain the anal fin. The caudal fin is brief and truncate. The gray gurnard is often greyish-brown in color with a red tinge on the back and sides. Small white spots are often present on the edges and the underside is cream in color.

Gurnard have giant fan-like pectoral fins, the first three spines that are separated and modified as sensory organs. The fish makes use of these to probe the substrate for its prey and tends to seem like its “walking” on these very skinny “legs” because it strikes slowly over the sandy backside trying to find buried crustaceans (crabs and shrimps), and small fishes (principally gobies, flatfish, younger herrings, and sand eels).

Like all gurnard, the gray gurnard is a particularly trying fish. It has a boxy, angular head and a body that tapers dramatically in the direction of the tail. Body-color is variable however is usually dominated by shades of gray or grey-brown, typically with a yellowish or reddish tinge across the face.

The ahead dorsal fin will be raised or lowered, and when raised is a big, rayed fan with a definite black spot on the periphery. The rear dorsal fin is far much less distinguished, elongated, and runs alongside the back in the direction of the tail.

This fish’s most popular habitat is sandy bottoms right down to a depth of around 150 meters (492 feet), though they’re typically discovered deeper than this. Although gurnard present a marked choice for sandy bottoms, in addition, they frequent mud and rock as long as there are appropriate meals out there.

Grey gurnard develop to the most size of between 45-50cm (18-20 inches) and the most weight of around 1.2 kg (2.6 lb), though they’re typically smaller than that, with 30cm (12 inches) being more typical. They attain sexual maturity at a size of about 18cm (7 inches) at around 3 years for males and 24cm (9.5 inches) at around 4 years for females.


The species is out there within the eastern Atlantic from Iceland, Norway, southern Baltic Sea, the North Sea to southern Morocco, Madeira; the Mediterranean, and the Black Sea.


Its head is giant without a deep occipital groove. First dorsal fin with 7-10 spines, second dorsal fin with 18-20 rays; 17-20 anal rays; pectoral fins brief, barely reaching anal-fin origin. Lateral line scales a bit bigger than body scales, with a spinate median keel and a posterior denticulated edge. Breast bare and stomach partially scaled.

Vertebrae 37-39 (11-13 precaudal and 25-27 caudal). Total gill rakers on first-gill arch 10-14.


Like another sea Robins, the gray gurnard produces sounds. The sound production of this species is often associated with competition for food. Younger people generate more noise than big ones and emit more “grants” than “chucks” because they are often competed for food by a competitive technique where larger samples are predominantly baiting for food.


Variable, often greyish-brown with a red tinge on back and sides, exceptionally uninteresting red; underside cream-colored; back and sides often coated with small white spots; a big rounded black mark present on the first dorsal fin. Size: to 50 cm, often to 30 cm.


principally widespread on sandy grounds, typically on rocky bottoms, and likewise on the mud between shoreline to 140 m depth; caught close to the floor at night.grey gurnard


Basic migration in the direction of the shore throughout summer, the place it will possibly enter estuaries.


Crustaceans, principally shrimps and shore crabs; fishes, mostly gobies, flatfishes, younger herring, and sand eels.


spawning from January to June at 25-50 m depth; the eggs are pelagic, as are the younger till attaining a size of three cm; sexually mature at 3 or 4 years old.

The gray gurnard is a coastal demersal species often discovered on sandy bottoms right down to 140 m depth but additionally on rocky or muddy seabeds.

Identifying traits

Up to 50 cm in size.
Large sloping head.
Blackmark on the first dorsal fin.
Longest pectoral fin rays reaching most the level of the first anal-fin ray.
Scales bigger on the lateral line than on the body.
Three lowermost pectoral rays are indifferent.


Gurnard are surprisingly vocal fish and produce quite a lot of sounds that embody loud grunts and croaks. These sounds are generated by forcibly expelling fuel from the swim bladder and are thought to assist teams of gurnard to speak with one another within the murky depths of the ocean.

Ecosystem Role

In basic gurnard species will not be thought of as a commercial species in Ireland, and are primarily caught as by-catch by fishing vessels concentrating on more acquainted species. As an outcome, they’re hardly ever seen in fishmongers or on the fish counter at the grocery store.

This is a disgrace as a result of gurnard is a really tasty white fish. It can also be fast-growing, mature early, and is comparatively plentiful – all elements that make it a lot more resilient to fishing than more acquainted overfished species like cod, haddock, and hake.


Grey gurnards as food are commercially important

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