Poor cod (Trisopterus minutus)

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



A slender fish with a relatively small head and a barbel under the chin. The colour pattern is a yellowish-brown to bronze red on top, with a coppery colour on the flanks. The underside is paler. Poor cod grow to a maximum length of 26 cm. Trisopterus minutus feeds on invertebrates such as decapod crustaceans and smaller fish.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

Very common to locally abundant around all coasts of Britain and Ireland.

Global distribution

Distributed from mid-Norway to Morocco, including the western Mediterranean.


Occurs mostly from 15 to 200 m in the Atlantic on sandy or muddy bottoms. Small poor cod are often seen in and around wrecks, or in large cracks or crevices in rocky areas. Larger fish occur down to 300 m.

Depth range


Identifying features

  • The upper jaw of the mouth is forward of the lower jaw.
  • Three dorsal fins, the first of which is triangular and the tallest.
  • Two anal fins, the first longer than the second.
  • A dark spot on the pectoral fin base, not larger than the pupil.

Additional information

Poor cod closely resemble bib Trisopterus luscus but lack the dark vertical bars usually visible on bib. Poor cod breed in spring in deep water. The poor cod is caught mainly in trawls. Valuable as an commercial fish because of its abundance, which also makes it an important food for some other, more directly valuable fishes, such as the cod, whiting, hake and turbot. It is used in the production of fish meal, and is eaten by humans in southern Europe.

Listed by


  1. FishBase, 2000. FishBase. A global information system on fishes. [On-line] http://www.fishbase.org, 2001-05-03

  2. 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.

  3. 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.]

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


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

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Merseyside BioBank., 2018. Merseyside BioBank (unverified). Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/iou2ld accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-10-01.

  6. NBN (National Biodiversity Network) Atlas. Available from: https://www.nbnatlas.org.

  7. Norfolk Biodiversity Information Service, 2017. NBIS Records to December 2016. Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/jca5lo accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-10-01.

  8. OBIS (Ocean Biodiversity Information System),  2024. Global map of species distribution using gridded data. Available from: Ocean Biogeographic Information System. www.iobis.org. Accessed: 2024-04-21

  9. 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.


This review can be cited as:

Ruiz, A. 2008. Trisopterus minutus Poor cod. 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 21-04-2024]. Available from: https://www.marlin.ac.uk/species/detail/2171

Last Updated: 03/07/2008