30 September 2008

Fish: sculpins and gunnel

From above it looks like a tadpole, in profile it looks like a scorpionfish. There is a fish called the tadpole sculpin, but this is the buffalo sculpin (Enophrys bison). It belongs to a large family of fish called the Cottidae. There is quite a difference in appearance between the approximately 36 species found on the west coast of Canada. See the next pictures of the tidepool sculpin.

The tidepool sculpins (Oligocottus maculosus) I saw were not bigger than 8 cm, the buffalo sculpin can reach a length of 37 cm.

The brown Irish lord (Hemilepidotus spinosus), another sculpin. Brown Irish lord? What's in a name!
Easily overlooked, because he is well camouflaged between the weeds.

The saddleback gunnel (Pholis ornata) was curious, but when he realised what was looking at him, he jumped away and disappeared in the weeds.

Take a good look.