Fishy February; A-Z of a Mermaid's Friends (L)
L - Lumpsucker
They literally have a suction cup under their body to stick themselves down! You’ll often find them hanging upside down under a rock! - They’re found in deeper water all round the UK, but are most common up in the North. - Lumpsuckers are poor swimmers - they have big bodies and small fins. They can be found down to 400m, but they tend to spend most of their time along rocky or muddy substrates, between 50-150m, where their colouration allows them to be camouflaged. - During mating season, male lumpsuckers will compete to make the best nest. A female lumpsucker will then choose her favourite and lay up to 350,000 eggs, before swimming away to continue with her solitary life. After fertilising the eggs, the male will suction himself next to the nest and spend the entire incubation period protecting them - which can last between 4-8 weeks! Once the eggs hatch, the male will also leave, leaving the little lumpsuckers to fend for themselves. - Lumpsuckers can grow to be 60cm long and weigh 9kg! - They’ve been listed as Near Threatened by IUCN. As they’re a nesting species, they are particularly vulnerable to trawling. They’re also now considered a delicacy, and their eggs sold as a form of caviar.