Stone Loach Specimen at the Natural History Museum, London - WWC Archives

The Stone Loach (Barbtula barbatula), this charming but bizarre fish has Barbels around its mouth which it cruises to feed and communicate.

It usually hides under stones and among sea weed and eats small worms. Grows up to 14 cm long. It prefers the bottom of small river. It is nocturnal with a speckled  brown coloured pattern on its back. It is small and slender.

The most distinctive feature of this 14 cm fish is the presence of barbels around the mouth. the body is a mixture of colours from brown, green and yellow.

A common fish in clear rivers and streams with gravel and sandy bottoms. This is most likely in upland areas but also chalk streams. They live on the bottom, often partly buried.


Stone Loaches live amongst the gravel and stones of fast flowing water where they can search for food. Particularly active at night they use the barbels around the bottom jaw to detect invertebrate prey.

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