nightfly's picture

Five Bearded Rockling.

Observed: 27th December 2011 By: nightflynightfly is knowledgeable about Fishnightfly’s earned reputation in Fishnightfly’s earned reputation in Fishnightfly’s earned reputation in Fish
27 Dec 11 evening (34)
27 Dec 11 evening (36)

A fish of approx 13cm long.

Species interactions

No interactions present.


ophrys's picture


I can understand ciliata, as that would refer to the barbels, I imagine, since it means that something has hair-like appendages. But, why does it have the species name mustela? That is also the generic name for it a reference to the sinuous body shape, like a Weasel's, I wonder?


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timcdlucas's picture

A bit of searching tells me

A bit of searching tells me that Mustela is both the genus name for the group and also the Latin word for the animal weasle. It seems the etymology of the word is unknown too. So I think you must be right about the body. Only other thing I can think of is the white belly/brown body but that seems unlikely.

nightfly's picture

Just a thought but it wouldnt

Just a thought but it wouldnt be in any way related to the barbels having a resemblence to whiskers? I suppose that has nothing specifically to do with weasels over other types of mammal.

Sorry I forgot to reply to your comment all that time ago Ophrys.

The agile body comparison is a good point, as you stated above. And I suppose it could be said they (weasels and rockling) do have a similar colouration on top of the fact that they have long sinuous agile body shape and movement?

Its an interesting one. The weasel of the sea!?


the naturalist man's picture

Then there are the Mustelus,

Then there are the Mustelus, the smooth dogfish or smooth hounds. I assume the name has the same etymology.

Mustela is literally the Latin name for weasel.

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ophrys's picture


Mustela was also used by the Romans, from an early time, to refer to certain fish, as well. Likely species include Rocklings, Burbot and Lampreys. Pliny in his Natural History Book IX, which deals with fish, refers to mustela as follows...

...mustelarum, quas, mirum dictu, inter Alpis quoque lacus Raetiae Brigantinus aemulas marinis generat.

"...mustelae, which, incredible to say, Lake Brigantius in Rhoetia, up in the Alps, generates to rival those found in the sea."

Sounds as if that might relate mustelae to lampreys, which the Romans did like, for torturing slaves, if not for eating!

So, whatever the connection between weasels and rocklings...etc, the Romans got there first.

The etymology of mustela is unknown.


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