Wednesday 11 January 2012

Grunt Sculpin

Image: NOAA's Fisheries Collection/David Csepp, NMFS/AKFSC/ABL
*SQUEAL!* Look at this cutie! It's absolutely adorable!

Image: zlatkarp via Flickr
I love that strange, mottled and marbled colouration. The patterns abruptly turn into a vibrant orange at the fins. Very odd.

Image: ianredan via Flickr
The Grunt Sculpin comes from north Pacific coasts, spending its time on rocky and sandy sea floors. They like the cold, so they live in the inter-tidal zone in the colder parts of their range and deeper waters in the warmer, more southerly areas.

Image: neoerik via Flickr
They have tough, spiky plates all over their body and make a grunting noise when disturbed.
Me, in an unusually high-pitched voice: Awwww! Look at the little fishie!
Fishie: *grunt*

Image: Minette Layne via Flickr
They reach about 9 cm (3.5 in) long and like to hide out in the empty shells of large barnacles. This is when the lovely colouration and strange body-shape really comes into its own. With their head poking out they look like a living barnacle with its shell shut. If they turn around, their protruding, orange fins look like a living barnacle feeding. Amazing!

Image: ianredan via Flickr
They have some of the same sweetness as the Sea Horse but they are actually in the order Scorpaeniformes, which makes them more closely related to the Lionfish. As such, they are a predator, and feast on small crustaceans and larval fish.


Like Lionfish, the Grunt Sculpin has spiny pectoral fins. They don't use them for horrid piercing and poisoning, though. Instead, they walk along the ocean floor! It actually looks more like little jumps, which makes it all the more adorable!


The Grunt Sculpin has become a favourite in both rock pools and aquariums.

Image: matt knoth via Flickr
When it comes to mating, the females have a lot of work to do. She actually chases the male into some rocks and traps him there when she's ready to mate. Then she guards the eggs when the male is permitted his freedom. One wonders if the male has any idea whatsoever of what's going on. It sounds like they need some sex education over there.

Image: cramsay23 via Flickr
Is she gone yet?


TexWisGirl said...

i'd have almost paid money to get an audio of your high-pitched squeel followed by the fish's grunt. :)

Joseph JG said...

Hahahahaaa! I think that would be money well spent!

Anonymous said...

The little fish looked strange in the photos... but in the videos - CUUUUUTE!

Joseph JG said...

Yes! Seeing them hopping and skipping and those little eyes peeping around is incredibly heart warming!

ben268 said...

Neat! You should do one on the Sarcastic Fringehead... I didn't see it here, but maybe I just didn't go back far enough.

Joseph JG said...

You're right! I haven't done that one yet.