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Lump-Sucker

LUMP-SUCKER, or LUMP-FISH (Cycloplerus lumpus), a marine fish, which with another British genus (Liparis) and a few other genera forms a small family (Cyclopteridae). Like many littoral fishes of other families, the lump-suckers have the ventral fins united into a circular concave disk, which, acting as a sucker, enables them to attach themselves firmly to rocks or stones. The body (properly so called) is short and thick, with a thick and scaleless skin, covered with rough tubercles, the larger of which are arranged in four series along each side of the body. The first dorsal fin is almost entirely concealed by the skin, appearing merely as a lump on the back. The lumpsucker inhabits the coasts of both sides of the North Atlantic; it is not rare on the British coasts, but becomes more common farther north. It is so sluggish in its habits that individuals have been caught with sea-weed growing on their backs. In the spring the fish approaches the shores to spawn, clearing out a hollow on a stony bottom in which it deposits an immense quantity of pink-coloured ova. Fishermen assert that the male watches the spawn until the young are hatched, a statement which receives confirmation from the fact that the allied gobies, or at least some of them, take similar care of their progeny. The vernacular name, " cock and hen paddle," given to the lumpfish on some parts of the coast, is probably expressive of the difference between the two sexes in their outward appearance, the male being only half or one-third the size of the female, and assuming during the spawning season a bright blue coloration, with red on the lower parts. This fish is generally not esteemed as food, but Franz Faber (Fische Islands, p. 53) states that the Icelanders consider the flesh of the male as a delicacy. 1 The bones are so soft, and contain so little inorganic matter, that the old ichthyologists placed the lump-sucker among the cartilaginous fishes.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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