Boar fish (Capros aper)

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



An oval, deep bodied fish with large eyes. Maximum recorded size 30 cm, with males being smaller than females. The snout is concave and long, with a protrusible mouth forming a short tube. Dorsal spines are strong and long. Anal spines are short and thin. The pelvic fin has a strong spine with five stout soft rays but these do not extend very far beyond the 2nd anal spine. The boar fish has small scales which are rough to touch. Individuals of Capros aper from deep water of 200 m or more are a brick red colour, sometimes with yellow bars. Shallow water specimens are often yellow or straw coloured.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

Found off the southwest coast of Britain and Ireland.

Global distribution

East Atlantic, West Norway, West Scotland to Senegal. Also found in the Mediterranean Sea.


A demersal marine fish with a depth range of 40 to 700 m. Found mainly over rock or coral but also on sandy ground.

Depth range


Identifying features

  • Long concave snout
  • Protusible mouth forming a short tube
  • Pelvic fin has strong spine and five stout soft rays but these do not extend much beyond the 2nd anal spine
  • Deep water fish from 200 m plus are a brick red colour, sometimes with yellow bars
  • Shallow water fish often yellow or straw coloured

Additional information

The boar fish feeds on crustaceans, mainly copepods, shrimps, worms and molluscs.
Spawning in northern waters occurs between June and August.

Listed by

- none -


  1. FishBase, 2000. FishBase. A global information system on fishes. [On-line], 2001-05-03

  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. Wheeler, A., 1969. The fishes of the British Isles and north-west Europe. London: Macmillan.

  4. WoRMS 2007. The World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS)., 2008-10-31


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

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

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

  4. OBIS (Ocean Biodiversity Information System),  2024. Global map of species distribution using gridded data. Available from: Ocean Biogeographic Information System. Accessed: 2024-06-15

  5. South East Wales Biodiversity Records Centre, 2018. SEWBReC Fish (South East Wales). Occurrence dataset: accessed via on 2018-10-02.


This review can be cited as:

Sweet, N. A. 2008. Capros aper Boar fish. 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 15-06-2024]. Available from:

Last Updated: 22/07/2008