Monday, 6 July 2015

It's Amazing What You Come Across On The Farnes

During their work on the Farne Islands the rangers come across many unusual and interesting discoveries. If you visited a few weeks ago you may have been lucky enough to see (and smell) this lovely lumpsucker. 

© The National Trust

Rhian Davies, our of the islands' Assistant Rangers tells us a little more. "The lumpsucker (including its scientific name of Cyclopterus lumpus) is aptly named as it has a large sucker on its belly. This sucker is an adaptation formed by the fusion of the pectoral fins, allowing it to hold on to the sea bed in strong tides.

© The National Trust

"After discovering it on the jetty, where it had been providing breakfast for a Herring Gull, we did a little research into exactly what had been found. The vivid colours show this dashing individual is a breeding male. During the breeding season the role of the male is to guard the eggs the female lays on rocks in shallow waters. There can be up to 400,000 eggs which the male must protect from predators, typically other fish. He must also keep the eggs ventilated by fanning water over them, ensuring there is a continuous supply of well oxygenated water for them. 

"Once hatched, which can be up to 10 weeks after being laid, the young lumpsuckers live in shallow water, typically in pools close to the shore. Males can grow up to 50cm long with females being up to 60cm. They eat worms, crustaceans, fish eggs and young and some types of jellyfish. It’s not until around five years old that the lumpsuckers are fully mature and can begin the whole cycle again."

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