The piper gurnard or piper, lyre gurnard (Trigla lyra Linnaeus, 1758) is a sea fish belonging to the Triglidae family.
From a systematic point of view it belongs to:
Species T. lyra.
The terms are synonymous:
– Trigla fagianus Rafinesque, 1810;
– Trigla lyra var. propontidis Steindachner, 1895.
Geographic Distribution and Habitat –
The Trigla lyra is a fish widespread in the eastern Atlantic, from Scotland south to Walvis Bay in Namibia, including the Macaronesia Islands and the islands of the Gulf of Guinea. It is found in the Mediterranean Sea but not in the Black Sea.
In Italy it is found on all coasts, but is not abundant. More frequent in the Sicilian seas.
It is a deep-water demersal fish found at depths up to 700 m (generally between 100 and 500 m deep) and prefers sandy and muddy bottoms.
The Trigla lyra is recognized for having a developed cephalic region and anterior part.
The body then tapers and thins in the caudal area, with a reddish or salmon pink color, with a darker back and lighter sides shaded to pink or spotted with white; the belly is white and overall reaches 70 cm in length.
The skin is covered with small scales with a raspy free edge, missing in the anterior ventral part.
The lateral line is formed by tubular scales.
The head is armored and the preopercular bone is prolonged forward of the snout in a very sunken rostrum in the center, with the two lobes notched on the anterior margin. The coracoid spine is very long and sharp. The anterior nasal opening is circular and clearly visible. The eyes are round and moderately large.
It has a wide mouth, located below, with bands of obtuse teeth. Other teeth are found on the vomer.
The dorsal fins are two and are inserted into a dorsal groove bordered on each side by a series of 24/25 spines. The first has 9 spiny rays, which rapidly decrease after the fourth. The second is almost contiguous to the first, it has 16-17 rays of almost constant or even increasing height. The anal has 16-17 rays, is opposite and almost equal to the second dorsal. The caudal is spatulate and with the posterior edge slightly hollowed in the centre. The pectorals (13 rays) are very developed and the last three rays are free, elongated and articulated. The ventral rays (1 spiny and 5 soft rays) are developed, but less than the pectorals.
Trigla lyra reaches sexual maturity when it reaches about 30 cm in length.
Pelagic eggs are laid in the summer months.
The larvae are already armored with bony plates and some spines. These fish can live up to 7 years.
Ecological Role –
The Trigla lyra is a fish that lives on deep sandy bottoms.
This fish has a diet dominated by crustaceans, especially neritic species, such as schools of shrimp, but also benthic species, such as crabs and hermit crabs. It also feeds on echinoderms, in particular brittle stars, polychaetes and small fish (especially Callionymidae).
It is caught with trawl nets and bites voraciously on deep-sea lines. The flesh is white, compact and tasty, good for fish soup.
It is not a fish subject to particular fishing or export but is caught and consumed on a local scale. However, in the Mediterranean this species is subject to commercial fishing and is regularly sold in the markets of Morocco, Greece and Turkey, and occasionally elsewhere. the meat is sold fresh or chilled.
– Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
– GBIF, the Global Biodiversity Information Facility.
– Louisy P., 2016. Guide to the identification of marine fishes of Europe and the Mediterranean. Il Castello Editore, Milan.
– Nikiforos G., 2008. Fauna of the Mediterranean. Giunti Editore, Florence.