Language English The Gulf of St. Lawrence Photo: Biodôme OngletsDescriptionDistinguishing features The cunner has an elongated body, a small mouth and fleshy lips. There are 18 spines on its dorsal fin and 3 on its anal fin. These fish vary in colour. The young are bright coppery orange with a black spot on the front part of the dorsal fin. Reproduction These fish reach sexual maturity at age 3 or once they are 8 to 11 cm in length. They spawn from June to August in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and a bit later in the Maritimes. The fertilized eggs float and hatch 40 hours later at a temperature of 20°C. Diet Cunners eat mostly molluscs and crustaceans, in addition to marine worms, sea peaches, barnacles, sea urchins, fish eggs and eelgrass. Predators Their main enemies are humans, marine birds and sculpins. Habitat They live in inshore waters along the Atlantic coast. They are found from Newfoundland to the north as far south as Chesapeake Bay in the United States. They live in shallow salt water, preferably on or near rocky bottoms. They are relatively inactive in winter, hiding in holes and crevices. Ecology, behaviour Cunners stop feeding for 5 or 6 months in winter. In ports, they feed on garbage left by humans. French nameTanche-tautogue Scientific nameTautogolabrus adspersusPhylumChordataClassOsteichthyes (bony fish)OrderPerciformesFamilyLabridaeSizeMaximum length: 43 cmWeight1.4 kgLife span10 yearsStatusCommon species, not exploited commercially; of some interest for the sport fishery.