information on the biology of species and the ecology of habitats found around the coasts and seas of the British Isles

Yarrell's blenny (Chirolophis ascanii)

Distribution data supplied by the Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS). To interrogate UK data visit the NBN Atlas.



Chirolophis ascanii has a robust and elongate body that may reach up to 25 cm in length. It has a small head with a blunt snout and a terminal, frog-like mouth. A large fringed tentacle is present above each eye and other smaller ones are present on top of the head. A single dorsal fin runs continuously from above the pectoral fin base to just before the tail. All dorsal rays are spiny and equal in size. The anal fin is also continuous although about a fifth shorter in length and is made up of soft rays. The caudal fin is small and rounded. Yarrell's blenny is bright red to brown with numerous dark patches and transverse bars. A dark ring is present around the eye continued as a stripe down the cheek.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

Widely distributed throughout British and Irish waters.

Global distribution



Yarrell's blenny is a subtidal benthic species usually found over rocks and amongst seaweeds from depths of 20 m down to over 200 m.

Depth range


Identifying features

  • Up to 25 cm in length.
  • Small, blunt head with frog-like mouth.
  • Fringed tentacles on head.
  • Long dorsal fin with 50-54 equal-length spines, long anal fin with 35-40 soft rays.
  • A dark ring is present around the eye.

Additional information

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Listed by

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Further information sources

Search on:


  1. Froese, R. & Pauly, D., 2007. Fishbase. A global information system on fishes. [On-line], 2008-02-18

  2. Howson, C.M. & Picton, B.E., 1997. The species directory of the marine fauna and flora of the British Isles and surrounding seas. Belfast: Ulster Museum. [Ulster Museum publication, no. 276.]

  3. Knijn, R.J., Boon, T.W., Heesen, H.J.L & Hislop, J.R.G., 1993. Atlas of North Sea Fishes. ICES cooperative research reports. ICES 194., Copenhagen

  4. National Biodiversity Network (NBN) Atlas website. Available from:  Accessed 01 April 2017

  5. OBIS,  2018. Global map of species distribution using gridded data. Available from: Ocean Biogeographic Information System. Accessed: 2018-09-25

  6. Whitehead, P.J.P., Bauchot, M.-L., Hureau, J.-C., Nielson, J. & Tortonese, E. 1986. Fishes of the North-eastern Atlantic and the Mediterranean. Vol. I, II & III. Paris: United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).


This review can be cited as:

Barnes, M.K.S. 2008. Chirolophis ascanii Yarrell's blenny. In Tyler-Walters H. and Hiscock K. (eds) Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Reviews, [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. [cited 25-09-2018]. Available from:

Last Updated: 02/06/2008