MarLIN

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

Common dragonet (Callionymus lyra)

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

Summary

Description

Callionymus lyra is the largest (up to 30 cm) and most common dragonet in UK waters. Small specimens could be confused with gobies. However, the broader and triangular head distinguishes it, together with a longer snout and jutting lower jaw. Mature males have elongate dorsal and caudal fin rays, the second dorsal being yellowish with bright blue longitudinal stripes and bright blue marks on the head and body. Females and immature males are brown and lighter ventrally with a series of 6 brown blotches along the sides. Three symmetrical brown saddles are present along the back with indistinct darker stripes lengthwise on the second dorsal fin. Females are usually up to 20 cm long and males up to 30 cm. This species can blend perfectly with coarse sand or gravel substrata. The fins are often folded down when the fish is on the sea bed.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

Widespread all along the coasts of Britain and Ireland.

Global distribution

East Atlantic, Southern Iceland, Central Norway south to Mauritania including the Northern Mediterannean, western Black Sea, Azores, Madeira and Canaries, Gibralter and Algeria.

Habitat

Demersal, found in the sublittoral to depths of 430 m. More usually at depths of 5 to 50 m. Mainly a temperate species in waters 16-20 °C. Callionymus lyra lives on the sea bed, often partially buried in sand or shell gravel.

Depth range

-

Identifying features

  • Flattened body without scales.
  • Triangular head when viewed from above.
  • Eyes on top of head.
  • Two dorsal fins, the first one triangular, tall and sail-like.
  • Colourful males with long first ray in first dorsal fin.
  • Sharp spines on pre-operculum.
  • Second dorsal and anal fin membrane with bright blue horizontal lines.
  • Usually 9 rays in second dorsal fin.

Additional information

Dragonets are small fish of shallow inshore waters. They are demersal and often found partially buried in sand or shell gravel. Adaptations to this mode of life include the dorsally situated gill opening and the flattened body shape. The diet of Callionymus lyra consists mainly of polychaete worms, amphipod crustaceans and molluscs, especially cockles.

Listed by

- none -

Further information sources

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Bibliography

  1. Centre for Environmental Data and Recording, 2018.Ulster Museum Marine Surveys of Northern Ireland Coastal Waters. Occurrence dataset https://www.nmni.com/CEDaR/CEDaR-Centre-for-Environmental-Data-and-Recording.aspx accessed via NBNAtlas.org on 2018-09-25.

  2. Dipper, F., 2001. British sea fishes (2nd edn). Teddington: Underwater World Publications Ltd.

  3. Environmental Records Information Centre North East, 2018. ERIC NE Combined dataset to 2017. Occurrence dataset: http://www.ericnortheast.org.uk/home.html accessed via NBNAtlas.org on 2018-09-38

  4. Fenwick, 2018. Aphotomarine. Occurrence dataset http://www.aphotomarine.com/index.html Accessed via NBNAtlas.org on 2018-10-01

  5. Gibson, R., Hextall, B. & Rogers, A., 2001. Photographic guide to the sea and seashore life of Britain and north-west Europe. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  6. Howson, C.M. & Picton, B.E. ed., 1999. The species directory of the marine fauna and flora of the British Isles and surrounding seas. CD-ROM Edition. Ulster Museum and The Marine Conservation Society, Belfast and Ross-on-Wye., Belfast: Ulster Museum. [Ulster Museum publication no. 280.]

  7. Isle of Wight Local Records Centre, 2017. IOW Natural History & Archaeological Society Marine Records. Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/7axhcw accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-09-27.

  8. JNCC (Joint Nature Conservation Committee), 1999. Marine Environment Resource Mapping And Information Database (MERMAID): Marine Nature Conservation Review Survey Database. [on-line] http://www.jncc.gov.uk/mermaid

  9. Kent & Medway Biological Records Centre, 2017. Fish: Records for Kent.. Occurrence dataset https://doi.org/10.15468/kd1utk accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-09-27.

  10. Kent Wildlife Trust, 2018. Biological survey of the intertidal chalk reefs between Folkestone Warren and Kingsdown, Kent 2009-2011. Occurrence dataset: https://www.kentwildlifetrust.org.uk/ accessed via NBNAtlas.org on 2018-10-01.

  11. Kent Wildlife Trust, 2018. Kent Wildlife Trust Shoresearch Intertidal Survey 2004 onwards. Occurrence dataset: https://www.kentwildlifetrust.org.uk/ accessed via NBNAtlas.org on 2018-10-01.

  12. Lancashire Environment Record Network, 2018. LERN Records. Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/esxc9a accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-10-01.

  13. Manx Biological Recording Partnership, 2018. Isle of Man historical wildlife records 1990 to 1994. Occurrence dataset:https://doi.org/10.15468/aru16v accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-10-01.

  14. National Biodiversity Network (NBN) Atlas website. Available from: http://www.nbnatlas.org.

  15. National Trust, 2017. National Trust Species Records. Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/opc6g1 accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-10-01.

  16. Naylor, P., 2000. Marine Animals of the South West. Plymouth: Sound Diving Publications

  17. Outer Hebrides Biological Recording, 2018. Vertebrates (except birds, INNS and restricted records), Outer Hebrides. Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/dax3tf accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-10-01.

  18. South East Wales Biodiversity Records Centre, 2018. SEWBReC Fish (South East Wales). Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/htsfiy accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-10-02.

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

  20. 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).

  21. Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, 2018. Yorkshire Wildlife Trust Shoresearch. Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/1nw3ch accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-10-02.

Citation

This review can be cited as:

Oakley, J.A. 2008. Callionymus lyra Common dragonet. 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 15-10-2018]. Available from: https://www.marlin.ac.uk/species/detail/2078

Last Updated: 17/04/2008