Grey gurnard (Eutrigla gurnardus)

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



Eutrigla gurnardus is a large member of the sea robin family reaching up to 30 cm (and rarely up to 50 cm) in length. It has a large head with a sloping forehead and a body that tapers towards the tail. Two dorsal fins are present on the back. The first, which is much smaller than the second has 7-10 spines and large black mark near the top. The second dorsal fin and its symmetrical anal fin counterpart both have 18-20 rays. The pectoral fins are short and barely reach the anal fin. The caudal fin is short and truncate. The grey gurnard is usually greyish-brown in colour with a red tinge on the back and sides. Small white spots are usually present on the sides and the underside is cream in colour.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

Found off the coasts of western Scotland, southern and western England, Wales and eastern and southern Ireland, with fewer records from eastern England and Scotland.

Global distribution



The grey gurnard is a coastal demersal species usually found on sandy bottoms down to 140 m depth but also on rocky or muddy seabeds.

Depth range


Identifying features

  • Up to 50 cm in length.
  • Large sloping head.
  • Black mark on first dorsal fin.
  • Longest pectoral fin rays reaching at most the level of the first anal fin ray.
  • Scales larger on lateral line than on the body.
  • Three lowermost pectoral rays are detached.

Additional information

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Listed by

- none -


  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. 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).


  1. Environmental Records Information Centre North East, 2018. ERIC NE Combined dataset to 2017. Occurrence dataset: accessed via on 2018-09-38

  2. Fenwick, 2018. Aphotomarine. Occurrence dataset Accessed via on 2018-10-01

  3. Fife Nature Records Centre, 2018. St Andrews BioBlitz 2015. Occurrence dataset: accessed via on 2018-09-27.

  4. Isle of Wight Local Records Centre, 2017. IOW Natural History & Archaeological Society Marine Records. Occurrence dataset: accessed via on 2018-09-27.

  5. Kent & Medway Biological Records Centre, 2017. Fish: Records for Kent.. Occurrence dataset accessed via on 2018-09-27.

  6. Merseyside BioBank., 2018. Merseyside BioBank (unverified). Occurrence dataset: accessed via on 2018-10-01.

  7. NBN (National Biodiversity Network) Atlas. Available from:

  8. OBIS (Ocean Biodiversity Information System),  2024. Global map of species distribution using gridded data. Available from: Ocean Biogeographic Information System. Accessed: 2024-06-23


This review can be cited as:

Barnes, M.K.S. 2008. Eutrigla gurnardus Grey gurnard. In Tyler-Walters H. and Hiscock K. Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Reviews, [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. [cited 23-06-2024]. Available from:

Last Updated: 02/06/2008