Enchelyopus cimbrius

Common Name

Fourbeard Rockling

Year Described

Linnaeus, 1766


Dorsal Fin: 37-55 (third fin)
Anal Fin: 36-49
Pectoral Fin: 15-19
Pelvic Fin: 5-7
Gill Rakers: 5-13 (first arch)
Vertebrae: 50-56 total

Body very elongate and tapering posteriorly. Head about one fifth of standard length. Snout blunt. Upper jaw projects significantly. Teeth present on premaxilla, vomer, and dentary. Three distinct barbels on snout adjacent to anterior nostrils and one on the snout tip. A single chin barbel. There are three dorsal fins: the first a single long pseudospine that reaches beyond D3, the second a series of very short hairlike rays lacking membranes, and the third a long and low fin consisting of membrane bound segmented rays. First dorsal fin rests in a groove on top of head. Anal fin long and low with origin well behind D3. Pectoral fin large. Pelvic fin with second ray more elongated than rest. Tail rounded or truncate and separated from D3 and anal fins. Body scaled. Head naked. Lateral line interrupted and distinctly notched above front of anal fin. Pores present on head.


Body brown grading to tan or whitish on the belly. Generally unmarked on body but can display large lateral blotches. A checkered brown/white pattern on lateral line. Fins are brown with a thin pale margin. Dorsal fin varies from having a single dark blotch on the posterior end to having a series of 4-5 blotches spaced along it's length. Anal fin with an elongated dark blotch near the posterior end. Lower caudal fin black. Eye dark.


Maximum size to 45cm TL. Usually <35cm TL.


Occurs in shallow to deep water based on latitude (deepest in south). Found from 0-1325m on soft or hard bottoms.


North American east coast from Baffin Bay to the N. Gulf of Mexico. Also in the eastern Atlantic.


Coad, B.W., & J.D. Reist. 2018. Marine Fishes of Arctic Canada. University of Toronto Press. 618pp.

Other Notes

The only rockling in the area with four barbels on the head.