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Also known as the Short-spined Sea Scorpion / Bullhead
Chris Brooks - www.dragonfly-images.co.uk
My Flickr site - www.flickr.com/photos/ceb1298
I agree this is open for debate! You wouldnt believe the confusion this wee red fish has caused.
I have changed my mind a few times about the ID between Ms and Tb. I actually looked up Ms images last night following putting this blighter up here on Ispot, just to view more images and study specimens, low and behold my images of this very fish are on a website under Myoxocephalus scorpius!
Initially I thought I'd made a terrible mistake, it might even be Glaucus (therefore IDed by Andy Horton) that they are on, need to recheck.
I have looked very closely at a zoomed in close up of the corner of the mouth and I am almost certain I can see the barbel stuck flat to the maxillary, I can share an unresized crop to see if you agree with me, at this point I am pretty confident it is Taurulus bubalis, despite it being on that website under Ms, I could be wrong, it is a tricky one, thanks for putting up the alternative ID, please describe in more detail which spine is missing which Tb should have for me, you see I think the outstretched pectoral might be obscuring the longest spine and causing confusion!?
Hi Cathal, we seem to be making a habit of this. I still cannot see the barbel. There is marking that could look like a barbel but I'm unsure it is there.
On the internet, images of the long spined clearly show a pronounced barbel hanging down.
It's an interesting one. Chris
Just looked at your link, it was Glaucus I was on last night and Andy has used 2 pictures I have sent him some years ago of this fish on his page under M.scorpius.
Have a look at the lower pic with the fish pointing towards the camera, is that not the small barbel I see stuck to the maxillary and pointing forward to the corner of the mouth, there is a tiny almost white protrusion visible on the corner of the maxillary on the upper pic also, I dont think there should be any protrusion of any sort on Ms. I really should look at the fins now.
I want to add a cropped close up of the mouth, I am going to have to put it up in an edit,
I'm not convinced it is a barbel, other images of the long spined clearly show a pronounced barbel hanging down but I might be wrong.
Ive added 2 crops, the first one is from the initial photo I posted.
The barbels I have seen on a quite large number Ive handled are very small, I think both these crops show the wee barbel in the dead centre and it is in a different posture in both, more curled in one than the other. At this stage I'm sticking with Tb as I can see a barbel and Ms should have absolutely nothing there?
What you make of the crops?
Thanks for feedback.
ps, I think the barbel is there and the reason its hard to see is because its stuck down(being out of water) and due to the broken up colouration around it? But I do believe I am seeing it.
Cathal, I'm perplexed, can you put it back to whoever made the ID on the website. Chris
Chris, that makes 2 of us! Na this wee fish has wrecked my head since my cousin caught it in 07, I photographed it, several times before releasing it. It was this specimen that got me looking at them.
Just one question. The pics you are looking at where the barbel is more readily observible, are they of underwater shots? Because when shot in water the barbel sticks out like a little spike. Out of water its not so obvious. I can see it here but it aint big, the 3 crops show the barbel in 3 different shapes, colouration/markings cant move as this is moving. Unfortunately picture quality is lost when uploading, particularly on the crops, what I am viewing here is a little clearer.
Cathal, look at this link to an image a Long Spined Sea Scorpion
Thanks Chris, I just viewed the very first pic that comes up there, as you can see when out of water the barbel isnt apparent, it cant be seen at all from that angle because it is collapsed, but that is definitely Tb in my opinion, just from familiarity of having many specimens that size in my hand before.
As for the long spine, on my red one it is obscured by the pectoral, and I think this is causing some confusion.
Thanks for taking so much time to look at this one, as I said its a tricky one but Ms should have a clean smooth rear edge to the upper lip and I can see a collapsed, stuck down barbel in the pics,
I seem to have added another ID of Tb accidentally while editing, sorry that wasnt intended.
I've studied all the images and I'm erring towards your ID at present, the website identification of your fish has put me off I think, it needs correcting if established as an error.
Thanks for the debate, enjoyable as usual.
I wish I knew how to take down that duplicate ID, I am just getting familiar with the workings of Ispot and I accidentally posted a 2nd ID of the same species while editing and adding pics yesterday? I was trying to add that scientific name to my title, something I thought I'd done already....and then it seemed to disappear, it looks like Im trying to argue with the alternative ID posted by Chris!
I had a look at MarLINs website a few days ago. Their main pic of Myoxocephalus scorpius at the head of the page is Ms. The small row of thumbnails below contains 3 images. No 1 is Ms, the 2nd and 3rd images available which are both titled M.scorpius are clearly Taurulaus bubalis, the white barbels are clear to see on both.
It seems Tb is being wrongly IDed as Ms all too frequently! Its not as if there is any shortage of Ms images, plenty available on angling forums though they are not 'in habitat' shots.
Ive just received an email from Andy at glaucus. He agrees the fish is Taurulus bubalis and has adjusted the website. If these fish would grow bigger barbels we wouldnt have this trouble with them!
Or pop them in water. I'm glad the website has been sorted out as it certainly confused me, wouldn't take much anyway. Regards Chris
Misinformation is far too common on websites as far as I can see. Its getting harder to ID things all the time if you rely solely on website images and their given titles!
As if IDing isnt hard enough already, looking at websites seems to be very confusing with things posted under the wrong names!!!!!
We may battle on.....
You think fish are bad. Don't ever go looking for hoverflies; there are almost more wrong identifications than right on many websites!
It's not real identification anyway, going to look on a website for pics that look the same. Unfortunately, a generation is growing up thinking that it is, as far as I can tell. Websites should only be referred to after using a proper key, or occasionally to get close to the genus or whatever, before diving into the key.
I'd better stop there, before I really get going about how there will soon be no real naturalists out there, just web browsers!
My Flickr photos...
A little harsh maybe but a good point well made. When my pension comes in this month I'll get myself a good book on fish identification. Regards Chris
I have had so much help IDing things by Andy Horton of Glaucus, he really does know his shorelife, and so much more, unfortunately I think he hasnt had the luxury of viewing an unresized crop of the corner of the mouth and therefore hasnt been able to appreciate that a small barbel is actually present.
I could email you an unresized original shot and you can study the corner of the mouth in close up on your screen. Also a shot which I think shows a bit more of that largest spine.
Thanks for debate. I didnt realize the confusion I was going to run into the day I took these photos, if I knew better I'd have taken a shot in some water so the barbel would have been floating free as it should be.
Just in case you can face another look at this beast Chris! lol, Ive stuck in possibly the most useful crop I can offer to show what I believe is the barbel (which is very much camouflaged against its backround)on the rear of the lip.
I emailed Andy (of Glaucus.com) this image too, he says he'll have a look when he gets Christmas celebrated.
I have come to this late and with no great knowledge of the two species!
However, using the Collins Guide, I would ID this as Long-spined. Reasons being that it does have a short barbel....your photos make that clear. [I don't really see why there is any doubt on that?] Also, there are two spines on the opercular edge, rather than one central spine, as in Short-spined.
In terms of colouration, it also closely resembles (especially the mouth and barble) the photo of this species in Gibson/Hextall/Rogers Photographic Guide to Sea and Shore Life. An unscientific point, but relevant!
Just realised I hadnt responded to this message Ophrys, thanks for the agreement and input. This was a tricky one.
Thanks for your recent agreement. This was one of my first posts on iSpot and in the course of editing and adding more photos, on my very first ever iSpot edit, I added a duplicate ID. I only realised my editing error after saving that edit.
It looks like I am arguing with Chris above, slightly embarrasing but I quickly learned that the option to add an additional ID being offered every time you edit does not have to be used.
This little fish caused confusion and understandibly so. Not only is the very small mouth barbel stuck tight to the lip, it is uncharacteristically coloured the same as the fish. That is, its red and white. They are usually plain white. The camouflage effect of the two-tone colouration is clear to see in the crop with additional arrows.
This fish was encountered before I knew anything about the mouth barbels, the fact that there were similar looking species and certainly before I understood the importance of taking a photo in water to show the presence or otherwise of the tiny mouth barbels.
What a delight of information.
The caution regarding WebID's is worth us all noting.
I've adjusted my agreement - it was on the final ID (same as the first, and quite correct)
Marine Project please Cathal
PS - Thanks..Note the Dealfish
Will visit the Dealfish now Derek. The Sea Scorpion above (if I havent explained this already in the above comment trail) grabbed onto a long strip of mackerel attached to my cousins hook, a bait intended for large pollack. The small fish was nowhere near the hook, just holding onto the bait and didnt let go until in the boat.
Lat/Lng: 55.143, -6.023
OS grid ref: NW437905
Caught on rod and line approx. 30 metres from shoreline.