no scales & antler-like preopercular spines
This sculpin was caught at Jackson beach. It was about 7 inches long and had the antler like preopercular spins along the side of its head.
Found seining off Jackson beach. Distinct preopercular spines that are forked. Display horns when agitated. 15 to 20 cm in length.
Found seining off the coast of Jackson Beach. The sculpin lacked scales and had unique preopercular spines which upon further inspection were spines which had small points, forming a forked spine at the tip of the preopercle. Sculpins caught had light brown coloration and were very rapid swimmers when disturbed in their tank. The fish was over 10cm in length, but came in a variety of smaller sizes. The sculpin displayed its spines when disturbed/touched as they may form a manner of defense.
This is a Leptocottus armatus (Staghorn Sculpin) in a plastic container of water. It was brought up in a seine in an educational project at the Port Townsend Marine Science Center. Its little horns kept getting caught on the net, and were difficult to release.
While counting 8,000 + birds on Richardson Bay for our Southern Marin CBC we spotted a Great Egret along the shoreline. It had a good-sized Sculpin, which it fiddled with for 3-4 minutes before gulping it down. Would love to know what species of Sculpin it might have been.
Just learned that this is probably the Pacific Staghorn Sculpin, Leptocottus armatus.
The Pacific staghorn sculpin, Leptocottus armatus, is a common sculpin (Cottidae) found in shallow coastal waters along the Pacific coast from Alaska to Baja California. The sole member of its genus, it is unusual for having spined antler-like projections on its gill covers; it can raise the projections as a defense mechanism.