Gurnard are very distinctive with a large bony head with spines and a steep profile. The front of the large pectoral fin is divided to form three fingel-like feelers. These are used to find food in the sediments. They are red in colour with a light coloured underside.
Red Gurnard around most of the British Isles except the east coast. It lives on sandy or muddy bottoms. Inshore you find young individuals as shallow as 5m of water and can live down to 200m. Gurnard sit on the bottom on their feelers or lie flat on the sediment. They can be easily approached by divers and make good photographic subjects. When caught they can make a grunting noise. This is made by muscles in the wall of the swim bladder. It is believed that the noise is to communicate with others in the small shoal.
Gurnard spawn in spring and early summer. The eggs and larval fish float freely in the plankton.
Red Gurnard grow to about 30-40cm.
Gurnard eat mainly crustaceans such as crab and shrimp.
Tub Gurnard – Trigula Lucerna
A very similar species to the Red Gurnard. The Tub gurnard can grow to 75cm but most are similar in size to the Red Gurnard in the 25-50cm range. Tub Gurnard are a more common species and are found right around the British Isles. The Tub Gurnard can be red or pink, but also reddish-yellow, yellowish or brown. The Tub Gurnard will also feed on small bottom living fish such as gobies, sand-eels or flatfish. The main distinctive feature of the tub gurnard is the blue colouration on their pectoral fin. This can take the form of the edges, or peacock style markings or the fin could be totally blue.