Now when you think of fish, I’m sure beards do not instantly spring to mind. Let alone when you think of a fish that has 5 of them. Well, meet the five bearded rockling, which does in fact have 5 beards … I imagine it takes them quite a while to get ready in the morning… *tumbleweed*. In all seriousness the five -bearded rockling is called this because the barbels it has on its face. It has four around its ‘cheek’ area and one on its ‘chin’.

This is actually just one of the rockling species you can find on the UK shores and is one of the less common species.  The three bearded rockling is actually the most common, however, why have three beards when you can have five. Both this species and the three bearded rockling are one of the few fish species you are likely to quite commonly encounter on the rocky shore. Although they do also inhabit the subtidal zone, they don’t mind chilling under seaweed and rocks in rock pools while the tides goes in order to hide from the bigger badder fish of the ocean. They can also get first dibs on all the lovely unsuspecting crustaceans that also decide to stay in the rock pools.

A lovely sized rockling just chilling in the seaweed at Oxwich Bay, UK.


These species are quite easy to recognise once you realise you haven’t found a catfish rocked up on the shore. They are scaleless, smooth and a tiny bit slimy. They also have one continuous second dorsal fin that runs along get stop of its body. These are pretty different in apperance to the other fish species that brave staying in rockpools when the tide retreats, so hopefully once you see a fish that looks like this as long as you count the barbels on its face you should be able to work out what species it is pretty easily.

Theres not much to tell about these fish, apart from keep an eye out for them when your rock pooling! As always I welcome feedback so let me know what you think of my website and posts @marinemumbles on  twitter or comment on my Instagram.

Happy Rockpooling!