Tag Archive: sculpins

Phylum: Chordate
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Scorpaeniformes
Family: Rhamphocottidae, Grunt Sculpins
Genus/species: Rhamphocottus richardsoni

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Short stocky body. Most of body covered with prickles. Head and body colored yellowish-beige, streaked with dark brown; ventral surface creamy yellow to pale red. Base of caudal fin is bright red. Fin rays mostly reddish.
Their large heads represent over half of their total body length—and feature a long, tapered snout, two bony ridges on top, and small cirri on the upper lip. Instead of scales, their bodies are covered with small plates containing numerous tiny spines.

Length 5-7.6 cm (2-3 in).

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Pacific Ocean, Japan north to Alaska, south to Santa Monica Bay, California. Habitat: Rocky and sandy substrates, tide pools. Grunt sculpins use the barnacles’ shells as protection and egg-laying sites. In this position, the shape of its head resembles the former resident of the shell.

Intertidal to 165 m. (540 ft)

DIET IN THE WILD: Crustaceans. Young consume zooplankton, invertebrate and fish larvae

LONGEVITY: about four years.

REPRODUCTION: Observations in captivity show that during spawning season the female chases the male until he is trapped in a rocky cavern. She keeps him captive until her eggs are laid; fertilization is external. After the eggs are fertilized, the female leaves the male to guard the nest. She may return occasionally to take a shift protecting the eggs. When it’s time for the eggs to hatch, whichever parent is guarding them (male or female) takes the eggs into its mouth, leaves the nest and literally spits the eggs out—breaking the eggs open. The newly hatched larvae then swim away to begin their lives.

REMARKS: Produces grunt-like sounds when removed from water, thus the common name. Eyes operate independently.
Like most sculpins, rarely swims freely in the water column; instead usually “walks” with a hopping motion over the substrate by use of its large, fan-like pectoral fins. Frequently observed taking shelter in empty shells, including those of the giant barnacle, Balanus nubilis, as well as in cans and bottles.

They move by crawling on the tips of their finger-like pectoral fins in a series of twitchy hops, jerks and jumps.

They make a wheezing-grunting sound when removed from the water, hence the name, grunt sculpin.


California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium, Water Planet Locomotion 2018

Ron’s Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/15896092713/in/album-72157662278273245/

Ron’s WordPress Shortlink https://fishoncomputer.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post-new.php

Seattle Aquarium https://www.seattleaquarium.org/animals/grunt-sculpin

Aquarium of the Pacific http://www.aquariumofpacific.org/onlinelearningcenter/species/grunt_sculpin/

Sculpins are small fish of the family Cottidae (order Scorpaeniformes).

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: Sculpins are elongated, tapered fish, usually with wide, heavy heads. The gill covers have one or more spines, the pectoral fins are large and fan like, and the skin is either naked or provided with small spines.


DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Marine tidepools, California coast.



California Academy of Sciences Steinhart Aquarium Tidepool 2016


Kingdom:Animalia (animals)
Phylum; Chordata (chordates)
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Scorpaeniformes (Scorpionfishes and flatheads)
Family: Hemitripteridae (Sea ravens or sailfin sculpins)

Genus/species: Nautichthys oculofasciatus


GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS:  The tall, first dorsal fin is extended in front of the head as the fish swims  which resembles a sail. Color varies, grayish on top with variously hued markings and occasionally red markings on dorsal fin. Caudal fin rounded, directed upward. A black band runs diagonally down and back through eye . To 20 cm (8 inches).

Sailfin Sculpin14972884586_258b21dea7_h

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT: Alaska to San Miguel Island, southern California. Habitat: Found at about 90 m (300 ft) most often on rocky bottoms with algae; occasionally seen hanging upside down in rock crevices.

DIET IN THE WILD: Small invertebrates

REPRODUCTION: Female spawns in winter and spring, when eggs are laid on rocks and often among mussel beds. The male guards the eggs.

Sailfin Sculpin

CONSERVATION: IUCN; not evaluated

Remarks: Common derived from the tall anterior dorsal fin which is extended in front of the head as the fish swims  which resembles a sail. Often the sailfin moves back and forth in the same rhythm as the movement of nearby seaweeds. Coupled with its cryptic coloration, this behavior disguises it from predators.


fishbase www.fishbase.org/summary/Nautichthys-oculofasciatus.html

 eol eol.org/pages/204301/hierarchy_entries/44730883/details

Ron’s WordPress Shortlink  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-Tg

Ron’s flickr  http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/sets/72157608359804936/with/8552927419/

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes)
Order: Scorpaeniformes (Scorpionfishes and flatheads)
Family: Hemitripteridae (Sea ravens or sailfin sculpins)

Genus/species: Blepsias cirrhosis

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS: There is a depression at the back of the head and some long cirri hang from the chin. The front edge of the first dorsal fin is high, the second dorsal and anal fins are long and approximately the same size. Coloration is usually brown mottled above with a light spot near the pectoral fins and pale below. Max length : 20.0 cm (8 inches)

 DISTRIBUTION AND HABITAT: North Pacific: Sea of Japan to the Bering Sea and to San Simeon, central California, USA.  Temperate Marine  Occurs in intertidal areas and to 37 m (120 ft) depth, but more common in subtidal areas. Often found among algae.

DIET IN THE WILD: Nekton and benthic crustaceans.

REPRODUCTION: Fecundity is low, 234–404 eggs. Adult B. cirrhosus  inject eggs into the tissue near the gastral cavity of  the sponge Mycale adhaerens  using it as a spawning bed.  The eggs are hidden by the sponge which is minimally damaged with the sponge also providing constant oxygen and an environment free of most bacteria.


LOCATION: Rocky Reef Cluster Sculpins

eol eol.org/pages/206919/details

 fishbase www.fishbase.us/summary/4054

 Ron’s flickr  www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/7207822582/in/photolist…

Ron’s WordPress shortlink:  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-wY


Class: Actinopterygii, Order: Scorpaeniformes,  Family: Cottidae ( Sculpins)

Oligocottus snyderi 

DISTRIBUTION: Endemic to the Pacific Coast from Alaska to Baja California.

HABITAT: Temperate rocky intertidal pools, especially those with algae or eelgrass and asandy substrate. They don’t migrate but do move between pools. In Central California, dominant in sub- to mid-intertidal pools.

APPEARANCE: Coloration varies greatly from green to reddish brown to pink, depending on the color of the surrounding algae; sides spotted and mottled. Like many sculpins, they have no scales. Cirri line the base of the dorsal fin and the lateral line. The common name refers to a “fluffy” fleshy area behind the dorsal fin. Max. length: 9 cm (3.50 in); average weight: 8 g (0.28 oz). 

DIET: Worms, crustaceans, and other marine invertebrates.

REPRODUCTION: Males use claspers during intercourse for internal fertilization. Eggs are deposited on rocks, and are guarded by the males. O. Synderi develops through larval, post larval, juvenile and adult stages.

REMARKS: Can breathe air for hours at a time, often in response to reduction in the tide pool’s oxygen at night .

LOCATION: Tidepool  CC15

Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/cas_docents/sets/72157608359804936/

WORDPRESS SHORTLINK:  http://wp.me/p1DZ4b-vX

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