|T. adspersus in Terra Nova, Canada|
The bergall, also known as the cunner, conner or chogset, Tautogolabrus adspersus, is a species of wrasse native to the western Atlantic, where it is found from the Gulf of St. Lawrence and Newfoundland to the Chesapeake Bay. They inhabit inshore waters living near the sea floor at depths from 10 to 128 m (33 to 420 ft), preferring areas with beds of seaweed, shipwrecks, or wharf pilings. They spend the winter months in a state of torpor underneath rocks. They can also be found in the aquarium trade.
Often, bergall is mixed in with blackfish (tautog), living on or near the same structures. Much of the food eaten by those bergall living among blackfish are the leftovers from the blackfishes prey. They can be distinguished from the tautog by their pointed snouts. Bergall are generally smaller, so are usually thrown back by anglers who think they caught a "short" tautog. In past years, they have been important commercial fish, but now are considered pests. They can be confused with black sea bass and other grouper, as well as tautog, for their ability to change color.
On May 28, 2015, the NJDEP Division of Fish and Wildlife officially certified the catch of a new state record saltwater fish, weighing 3 pounds, 2.4 ounces and eclipsing the previous state record by 1.9 ounces. It measured 16.5" in length and had a girth of 12.5".
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