The Butterfish is a long slim eel-like fish that can be found all around the English coastline. It prefers to live near the sea shore just below low tide level where it hides underneath boulders, stones and amongst seaweed. It has a very slippery skin which makes it almost impossible to pick up and for this reason it is called the ‘Butterfish’.
The Butterfish can reach a length of around twenty-five centimetres and its body is a yellowy brown colour with lots of dark markings. It can easily be recognised because it has nine to fifteen black oval-shaped spots running down its back and a dark line that runs under each eye. It has a long spiny fin that runs along the length of its back. This fin is called the ‘dorsal’ fin and consists of around seventy to eighty little spines.
The female Butterfish lays her eggs in winter and both the male and the female take it in turns to curl their bodies around the eggs to protect and guard them. Butterfish are also known as Rock Eels because of their eel-like appearance. They mainly eat marine worms and small crustaceans.