Red Gurnard (Chelidonichthys cuculus) Fish Profile, Traits

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

Red gurnard, scientific name Chelidonichthys cuculus, is a sea fish. It is also known as the East Atlantic red gurnard, is a fish species of the Triglidae family.

Mauritania (including Madeira and the Azores) extends from the East Atlantic to the British Isles (sometimes Norway). It is known throughout the Mediterranean and perhaps even in the Black Sea.


The gurnards are very distinct bottom-living fish with large heads and eyes. The head is protected by a large bone plate and a strong spine. The three rays beneath the pectoral fin are sensitive organs in a separate, finger-like process.

They are used to ‘feel’ for gurnard small fish, crustaceans, and other varieties that live in sediments. The red gurnard has a body, a large head and eyes, and moderately large fibers.

It is one of the smallest of the European gurnards to reach a maximum of 40 cm (16 inches) in length. Colorful bright red and with pink-silver mottling all around and head.

The protective bone plates on the head that are characteristic of all gurnards are very clear in this species. Along the lateral line, there is a row of large, plate-like fibers.

The split dorsal fin has nine spines and seventeen to eighteen soft rays while the anal fin has no spine and sixteen to eighteen soft rays.

Red gurnard

Distribution and Accommodation

The Red Gurnard local range extends from the temperate East Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean to southern Mauritania in southern Norway and Sweden to the British Isles in the south, France, Spain, Madeira, the Azores, and the coast of Africa.

It is also present in the Mediterranean and possibly the Black Sea. Its depth ranges from about 400 meters (1,312 feet) to the surface, but it is usually found between 30 and 250 meters (98 and 820 feet).

It is also found on sandy, shingle, or rocky beaches, and feeds are also found on the lower resident invertebrates, such as crustaceans and small fish feeds.

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