Cyclopterus lumpus

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Lumpsucker or lumpfish
Cyclopterus lumpus
Jielbeaumadier poisson gris 2 paris 2014.jpeg
Adult at the Dorée Tropical Aquarium
Cyclopterus lumpus (juvenile).jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Scorpaeniformes
Family: Cyclopteridae
Genus: Cyclopterus
Linnaeus, 1758
Species: C. lumpus
Binomial name
Cyclopterus lumpus
Linnaeus, 1758

Cyclopterus lumpus, the lumpsucker or lumpfish, is a species of marine fish in the family Cyclopteridae (lumpsuckers). It is the only member of the genus Cyclopterus.[1] It is found over rocky bottoms in the North Atlantic and adjacent parts of the Arctic Ocean, ranging as far south as Chesapeake Bay (rare south of New Jersey) on the North American coast and Spain on the European coast.[2]


Males typically reach 30–40 cm (12–16 in) in length and the larger females rarely surpass 50 cm (20 in) in length and 5 kg (11 lb) in weight.[3] The maximum is 61 cm (24 in) in length and 9.5 kg (21 lb) in weight.[2] The body is ball-like. It has a knobbly, ridged back and three large bony tubercles on each flank. Its pelvic fins form suction discs which it uses to attach strongly to rocks or other surfaces. The head and the pectoral fins of males are larger than those of females. It has a jelly-like layer of fat under the skin which makes it appear to quiver when held in the hand.[4] Its colour is highly variable; bluish, greyish, olive, yellowish or brownish.[5] Mature males, which turn reddish during the breeding season, are brighter than females.[5]


This fish lives in shallow water and remains attached to the substrate for most of the time except when breeding. They feed on small fish and invertebrates.[4] The female can carry 100,000–350,000 eggs, which are laid in a "nest" that is made in relatively shallow water by the male.[3] The male also guards and cares for the eggs by fanning them with his fins during the month-long incubation period.[5] The larvae soon attach themselves to seaweed with their suckers.[4]


It is often caught for the roe, and the flesh is eaten in Scandinavia.[2]


  1. ^ Froese, Rainer, and Daniel Pauly, eds. (2012). Species of Cyclopterus in FishBase. July 2012 version.
  2. ^ a b c Froese, Rainer and Pauly, Daniel, eds. (2012). "Cyclopterus lumpus" in FishBase. July 2012 version.
  3. ^ a b Muus, B., J. G. Nielsen, P. Dahlstrom and B. Nystrom (1999). Sea Fish. pp. 180–181. ISBN 8790787005
  4. ^ a b c "Lumpfish: Cyclopterus lumpus". NatureGate. Retrieved 2013-12-16. 
  5. ^ a b c Kells, V., and K. Carpenter (2011). A Field Guide to the Coastal Fishes from Maine to Texas. pp. 192–193. ISBN 978-0-8018-9838-9