nightfly's picture

Sea snail

Observed: 20th September 2013 By: nightflynightfly’s reputation in Fishnightfly’s reputation in Fishnightfly’s reputation in Fish
19 Sept 13 (1)
19 Sept 13 (2)
Species interactions

No interactions present.


JoC's picture

Liparis liparis

"Sea snail" seems to me to be an odd name for a fish; anyone know why it is so called? I think it makes a good case for using latin names!


nightfly's picture

Hi Jo,It certainly is an odd

Hi Jo,

It certainly is an odd name for a fish, it is slightly confusing. The fish itself would probably resemble a slug more than a snail but it has maybe got as much to do with the way they move. The only other one Ive seen I found in a rockpool. It was very sluggish in its movement and posed absolutely no challenge to catch. I could just pick it up. None of the other rockpool fish were such a push over, very fast and evasive.

Having seen one in action I actually think the name suits it down to the ground, it looks like a slug and it behaves like a slug/snail.


trudy-russell's picture

It's hard to say which one it

It's hard to say which one it is. Still a good spot, though. According to Kay and Dipper (A Field Guide to the Marine Fishes of Wales and Adjacent Seas), colour doesn't help with separating ID because they are very variable. The depth you found it from doesn't help because both can be found there, although it is worth noting that only Montagu's Sea Snail is found in rock pools. Both this book and the Marine Species Identification Portal ( state that one way to separate them is how much overlap there is between the dorsal and anal fins and the caudal fin. In Montagu's, the dorsal and anal fins stop just short of the caudal fin. In the Striped Sea Snail (L. liparis), the dorsal and anal fins overlap, up to half way along, the caudal fin. However, this is not clear in juvenile fish. Further confusion is likely as according to the MSIP, L. liparis might consist of more than one species...

Trudy Russell
Marine Advisor
Natural England

To find out about what's going on in the south west check out

nightfly's picture

Thanks for this post Trudy

Thanks for this post Trudy and apologies for the late response. Some very interesting info. there not least that L.liparis may contain more than one species.

I think an ID of 'Liparis' might be be more appropriate here. From whatever researching of images I had done in the past I had formed the opinion that the plain sandy one was liparis and that monatgui was generally a more colourful fish. Also, someone in an aquarium somewhere (who I emailed pics to) gave me information that seems now to be dubious.

My other 'Liparis liparis' in the carousel is likely to be L. montagui- it was found in a rockpool. Checking out the link now, thanks.


nightfly's picture

Trudy I have altered my ID on

Trudy I have altered my ID on this other Sea Snail obs. based on the info. you shared above, the above one may follow suit also.