Winter Fishtival: Sculpin Fun Facts

Join us for hands-on activities, special talks and opportunities to learn more about the care and feeding of the Aquarium’s fish, birds, tide pool animals and marine mammals during Winter Fishtival! Each day we’ll highlight a different sea animal and activity. Today the featured animal is the sculpin. Here are some fun and interesting facts about sculpins.

Sculpins are in the Cottidae family and are another fish without a swim bladder. Similar to greenlings, they are found usually resting on rocky reef bottoms in relatively shallow waters. Sculpins are not generally fished or harvested by humans but are an important food source for fish, birds and mammals. They are one of the largest families of fish in the Pacific Northwest with over 40 species found locally. The majority of sculpins are only a few inches long.

Physical Characteristics:

  • They generally are a small fish of less than 1 foot, with the exception of the cabezon, which can grow to 3 feet in length
  • Large, bulbous head with fleshy appendages and spines on head and gill covers
  • Protruding eyes set high on head
  • Large pectoral fins
  • Color varies based on environment from browns, greys, greens, reds and purples

Behavioral Characteristics:

  • Typically inhabit tide pool and intertidal habitats; some found in deeper waters
  • Often lie motionless on the reefs, the bottom or between rocks
  • Solitary and territorial
  • Eggs are usually deposited among rocks and are guarded by the male while they develop

Cool Facts:

  • There are 230 recognized marine species; 41 are found locally

Come visit the Aquarium to learn more about sculpins at Winter Fishtival. Tomorrow’s featured animals are the marine mammals!

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