Fishermen received a disturbing surprise when they netted a pair of the world’s “least graceful fish”.

The trawlermen recoiled in horror as they pulled the male and female lumpsuckers aboard.

They kept the ugly pair submerged in their nets and handed them over to the Blue Reef Aquarium, Hastings, for inspection.

Experts identified the rare species and now hope that they will breed at the centre.

Blue Reef’s Chris Ireland said: “Lumpsuckers get their name from specially adapted pelvic fins on their bellies which form a suction cup.

“They’ve been described as one of the marine world’s least graceful fish and they certainly look strange with their scaleless blue-green skin and deep bodies covered with bony lumps.

The fish are usually found in waters off Northern Europe, Greenland and Maryland in the United States.

Also known as Sea Hens, they can reach lengths in excess of 60cm.

Apparently 18th century scientists, keen to find out whether the lumpsucker really lived up to its name, noted that a bucket full of water could be lifted by the tail of a full-grown fish clinging to its base.