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Critter of the Month

(Skip down to the Archives)

November 2011


photo© 2011 Janna Nichols

 

Think you know what it is? Click here for the answer and more ID tips!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ANSWER!

If you guessed Spinynose Sculpin, you're right!
Asemichthys taylori
Sculpin Family

This fish is one cool cat. Although diminutive in size, often less than three inches, he makes up for being small by staying late at the various cool fish hangouts and as he always getting home late from his various engagements, he is easily identified by his "five o'clock shadow" on his lower jaw below the eye. This fish is seen most often on the bottom, taking it easy and hanging out until his next engagement and dressed impeccably in olive or brown colors. Sometimes, to catch a little sleep, they may burrow in algae or a shell bottom. Although popular in many places along cool fish row, little is known about his personal life and to see him is always a treat.

If you guessed spiny nose sculpin (Asemichthys taylori) good for you! These sometimes very cryptic fish are for folks who like to spend a lot of time looking at the substrate on the bottom for critters. The largest recorded specimen was 3 inches long so they are small! They are usually olive brown or a drab brownish color. They may also be pink or red from hiding in algae. They have 4 ventral stripes or "saddles" and have a smooth round head. Their usual behavior is to just lie motionless- a calm approach by a diver will allow some good macro photo opportunities. They are very distinctive with their "unshaven" darkly marked lower jaw.

Little is known about this tiny fish, so make sure to record them when you see them. One of my favorite critters to see personally!

- Contributed by Laura Tesler, REEF PNW AAT

Critter of the Month Archives

2011

  • January - Puget Sound Rockfish
  • February - Invasive Club Tunicate
  • March - Chimney Sponge
  • April - Pacific Staghorn Sculpin
  • May - Invasive Didemnum Tunicate
  • June - Roughback Sculpin
  • Jul, Aug, Sept - no critter :(
  • October - Manacled Sculpin

2010

  • January - Blue Sided vs. Blue Blotched Rockfish
  • February - Northern Feather Duster Worm
  • March - China Rockfish
  • April - Opalescent Nudibranch
  • May - Starry Flounder
  • June - Eccentric Sand Dollar
  • July - Great Sculpin
  • August - Pink Hydrocoral
  • September - Kelp Perch
  • October - Spotted Ratfish
  • November - Northern Abalone
  • December - Bay Pipefish

2009

  • January - Fish Eating Anemone
  • February - Pile Perch
  • March - Orange Cup Coral
  • April - Saddleback Gunnel
  • May - Spot Prawn
  • June - Yellowtail Rockfish
  • July - Strawberry Anemone
  • August - Speckled Sanddab
  • September - Green Sea Urchin
  • October - Mosshead Warbonnet
  • November - China Rockfish
  • December - Cloud Sponge

2008

  • January - Longfin Gunnel
  • February - Giant Barnacle
  • March - Yelloweye Rockfish
  • April - White Spotted Anemone
  • May - Decorated Warbonnet
  • June - Orange Sea Pen
  • July - Snake Prickleback
  • August - Red Sea Urchin
  • September - Sailfin Sculpin
  • October - Rock Scallop
  • November - Candy Striped Shrimp
  • December - Red Irish Lord

2007

  • December - Spiny Pink Star
  • November - YOY Rockfish
  • October - Coonstripe Shrimp
  • September - Striped Perch
  • August - Red Rock Crab
  • July - Lewis's Moonsnail
  • June - Shiner Perch
  • May - Longfin Sculpin
  • April - Moon Jelly
  • March - Black Rockfish
  • February-Tube Dwelling Anemone
  • January - Cabezon

 

 

2006

  • December - Sunflower Star
  • November - Vermilion Rockfish
  • September/October Plumose Anemone
  • August - Grunt Sculpin
  • March - July - Giant Nudibranch
  • January/February - Pacific Spiny Lumpsucker

2005

  • December - Penpoint Gunnel
  • November - White Lined Dirona
  • October - Kelp Greenling
  • September - Leather Star
  • August - Tube Snout
  • July - Lion's Mane Jelly and Egg Yolk Jelly
  • May - Buffalo Sculpin
  • April - Northern Kelp Crab
  • March - Brown Rockfish
  • February - GPO vs. Red Octopus
  • January - C-O Sole

2004

  • December - Orange Social Ascidians
  • November - Scalyhead Sculpin
  • October - Yellow Margin Dorid
  • September - Roughback Sculpin
  • August - Fringed Tube Worm
  • July - Pacific Sandlance
  • June - Leafy Hornmouth
  • May - There isn't one! Ooops!
  • April - Oregon Triton
  • March - Painted Greenling vs. Tiger Rockfish
  • February - Dungeness Crab
  • January - Ling Cod

2003

  • December - Slender Legs or Graceful Crab
  • November - Copper Rockfish
  • October - Lacy Bryozoan
  • September - Rock Sole
  • August - Orange Sea Cucumber
  • July - Blackeye Goby
  • June - California Sea Cucumber
  • May - Whitespotted Greenling
  • April - Gumboot Chiton
  • March - Quillback Rockfish
  • February - Shiny Orange Sea Squirt
  • January - English Sole

2002

  • December - Crescent Gunnel