Common Name: Tompot blenny
Scientific Names: Parablennius gattorugine
Description: This is one of the larger blennies (to 25cm long) but the specimens seen in the area have been around the 10cm size. It has the typical tapering blenny shape (see blenny 28) and poses propped up on its pelvic fins. Often only the large head can be seen with its obvious head tentacles, thick lips and large eyes. The colouration is a complex mix of browns and reds but there are usually solid darker bands running down from the top of the dorsal (back) fin to the belly.
Distinctive Features: The large branched tentacles on the head above the eyes.
Abundance: Solitary. Probably common but this is a species that will usually only be seen by close scrutiny.
Habitat & Behaviour: Secretive, living in cracks and crevices in rocky habitats. In the breeding season males are quite bold and will guard their crevice homes where the females lay their eggs, seeing off all comers (including divers).
Reaction to Snorkellers & Divers: They are inquisitive and rarely camera shy, which is one of the reasons that this species has become an icon of many conservation projects. The subject of the first video was certainly not spooked by the camera.
Text: Bob Earll
Photo: Russell & Gill Bennett
Video: Bob Earll & Luke Adshead