Silver Spotted Sculpin

Silver Spotted Sculpin

By Oshia Shillingford

Common name: Silver Spotted Sculpin

Scientific name: Blepsias cirrhosus

Size range: Up to 19cm (7.5 inches) in length

Identifying Features:  The Silver Spotted Sculpin is light olive brown, green or coppery yellow in colour. It has reflective silver spots located behind the pectoral fins.  It has two dorsal fins, and the second dorsal fin is larger than the first. It has prominent cirri on the nose and bottom jaw.

Habitat: The Silver Spotted Sculpin is found in Southern British Columbia and the Strait of Juan de Fuca.  It is often found in protected shallow water among marine plants such as eel grass as well as in kelp beds on exposed shores.

Food: The Biology 11 class with Mr. Young has the Silver spotted Sculpin in an aquarium for four months.  Within our aquarium it has only been observed eating live shrimp and would not eat the frozen krill.  It appears to be an ambush predator.  It has been observed hiding in the eel grass for long periods of time.  Its colouration is very cryptic and it is hard to see within the rotting blades of the eel grass.  it darts out to catch the live shrimp and if it’s unsuccessful it will retreat back in to cover.

Predators: The Silver Spotted Sculpin has not been observed being taken as prey.   Larger fish or river otters might find the Silver Spotted Sculpin a tasty snack.  It is very cautious in nature and prefers to be hidden in eel grass and kelp and often looks like floating kelp itself.

Life Cycle: Observations are limited on reproduction. Eggs are clear, light brown or blue and they are attached to rocks in shallow waters. In the Puget Sound the eggs ripen in early February.

REFERENCES: 

Hart, J. L. (1973). Pacific Fishes of Canada: Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences.

 Lamb, A. and Hanby,B.(2005). Marine life of the Pacific Northwest: A photographic encyclopedia of invertebrates, seaweeds and selected fishes. Medeiva Park, BC: Harbour Publishing.

Photographs by D. Young

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