Redlip Blenny – Ophioblennius atlanticus atlanticus

The Redlip Blenny, also known as Devilfish or Horceface Blenny, is a species in the large clade of Percomorpha and thus belongs to the superclass of the bony fish. It was first described in 1836 by Achille Valenciennes.

Redlip Blenny - Ophioblennius atlanticus atlanticus Osteichthyes bony fish diving canary islands species atlantic ocean
Redlip Blenny – Ophioblennius atlanticus atlanticus


The body of the Redlip Blenny is elongated, almost eel-like. Ophioblennius atlanticus atlanticus has a yellow-black patterned head. Towards the tail, its colouring changes completely to black. The dorsal fin is also yellow, but its lateral fins are reddish-shimmering.

Its name comes from its red lips, which are rarely seen.
Ophioblennius atlanticus atlanticus has a maximum length of 25 cm.

Habitat and Distribution

One finds The Redlip Blenny in principle on firm ground with hiding places under large stones, in columns or holes, down to a depth of 20m.

When diving in the Canaries it is very common. Anyone who wants to look at him closely should approach him slowly.

It is also found in the eastern Atlantic from Senegal to Angola, including the surrounding islands, Madeira and the Azores. In the western Atlantic, it is spread from Bermuda, via North Carolina, the Caribbean, all the way to Brazil. However, it is rarely seen in the northern Gulf of Mexico.


The Redlip Blenny hahas ve a small territory and lives solitaire, always close to the ground. Its diet consists of algae and detritus.


Ophioblennius atlanticus atlanticus reproduces every month from 10 days before to 4 days after full moon, with the mating taking place in the first three hours of daylight. The male cleans a nest of coral and algae residues to lure females. Each male Redlip Blenny can have up to 5 nests in different stages, which it regularly supplies with fresh water. Larger fishes with larger nests have better chances to get a female. The eggs are placed in a single layer in the nest and then guarded by the male until the larvae hatch.

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