Sculpin Facts

Sculpin Facts
Sculpin is small fish that belongs to the family Cottidae. There are around 300 species of sculpin. They can be found in the marine and freshwater ecosystems all over the northern hemisphere (including the arctic area). Sculpin prefers temperate and subarctic climate. It tolerates low water temperature (up to 0.4 degrees of Celsius) and usually inhabits intertidal and tidal areas, shallow reefs, estuaries and kelp forests. Sculpins are not part of human diet because of their distasteful meat, but fishermen often use these fish as a bait for numerous other commercially important species of fish. Sculpins are numerous and widespread in the wild. They are not on the list of endangered species.
Interesting Sculpin Facts:
Sculpin can reach few inches to 3 feet in length and few ounces to 25 pounds of weight. Most species are only 3.9 inches long.
Color of the body depends on the environment. Sculpin can be green, brown, grey, red, reddish-brown or purple colored. Body of most species is mottled and covered with various stripes and bars.
Sculpin has big and wide head, bulging eyes located on top of the head, large pectoral fins and tapered body.
Sculpin has fan-shaped pectoral fins. Lower edge of pectoral fins is webbed and covered with sharp rays which facilitate gripping to the substrate. Unique morphology of pectoral fins ensures survival in the fast-flowing waters.
Sculpin has naked skin that is usually covered with small spines (sculpin does not have scales). Head, fins and operculum (gill cover) are equipped with prickles and fleshy appendages.
Sculpin does not have swim bladder. It is bottom-dwelling creature that rests on the sea floor or in between the rocks most of its time.
Sculpin searches food along the shore during the high tide. Most sculpins are nocturnal (active during the night).
Sculpin is a carnivore (meat-eater). Its diet is based on crabs, amphipods, worms and small fish.
Natural enemies of sculpins are large fish, herons, otters and raccoons.
Sea raven (species of sculpin) inflates its body to intimidate predators when they try to pull it out of the water.
Sculpins are solitary and territorial creatures. Each sculpin occupies its own tidal pool.
Sculpins hide in the mud or seaweed when tidal pools dry out during the low tide.
Spawning of sculpins usually takes place during the spring and summer. Females lay thousands of eggs in the nest on the bottom of the sea (or river), usually among rocks or logs.
Males often produce offspring with several females during the spawning season and guard nest with eggs until they hatch. Young sculpins reach sexual maturity at the age of 2 to 4 years.
Sculpin can survive 3 to 7 years in the wild, depending on the species.

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