Now in our Puget Sound Fish exhibit: 22 new manacled sculpins, Synchirus gilli, and 1 tiny silverspotted sculpin, Blepsias cirrhosis.
In the picture above, the manacled sculpin displays two of its distinctive features: the united pair of pectoral fins and the protuberance on the lower lip (function unknown). The fin helps the tiny fish cling to bull kelp and other leafy algae where they can change color to match the algae. Manacled sculpins can be found from Alaska to southern California and can reach up to three inches in length.
Note the silvery blotches and transparent fin spots on the silverspotted sculpin at left; these provide excellent camouflage among the kelp in its native habitat from the Sea of Japan to northern California. Although the silverspotted sculpin can reach up to eight inches in length, it’s difficult to spot because of its cryptic coloration and swimming behavior, which resembles kelp moving in the current.
Learn more about these and other sculpins during your next visit to the Puget Sound Fish exhibit at the Seattle Aquarium.