New Critter For Me - Spinyhead Sculpin

Fish & Invertebrate sightings and descriptions, hosted by resident NWDC ID expert Janna Nichols (nwscubamom).
Post Reply
User avatar
Tom Nic
I've Got Gills
Posts: 9367
Joined: Mon Apr 10, 2006 6:26 pm

New Critter For Me - Spinyhead Sculpin

Post by Tom Nic »

I spotted this guy in about 20fsw on an evening dive at Three Tree North. I immediately knew that I had never seen this guy before, and that it was an uncommon species as far as diver observation for where I was diving.

Image

When I got home I went straight for my Id books (a couple of which are mysteriously "missing", hmmm...) and it seems that this is a Spinyhead Sculpin, Dasycottus settiger if my eyes do not deceive me or if there is not newer info in one of the newer books that have been published.

Lamb & Hanby in Marine Life of the Pacific Northwest have this description - "A denizen of soft bottoms, this inconspicuous species is one of many creatures politely referred to as by-catch by commercial shrimp trawlers. Night divers venturing into silty situations are the only other folks likely to encounter its well camouflaged form."

Lamb & Edgell in Coastal Fishes of the PNW add this - "This species has bristles or cirri on its head and the larger the specimen the more cirri and the more bristly the appearance."

Both books say that the upper range for the size of these guys is "9 inches long". This one was about that long - he was NOT tiny! He was definitely not camera shy - here are the other shots i got of him, all of which show the bristly "stubble" cirri and the very cool spikes on his head, as well as the "blue" eye and the surrounding pattern.

Image

Image

Image

Image
More Pics Than You Have Time To Look AT
"Anyone who thinks this place is over moderated is bat-crazy anarchist." -Ben, Airsix
"Warning: No dive masters are going to be there, Just a bunch of old fat guys taking pictures of fish." -Bassman
User avatar
Dusty2
I've Got Gills
Posts: 6388
Joined: Wed Mar 21, 2007 9:04 pm

Re: New Critter For Me - Spinyhead Sculpin

Post by Dusty2 »

Wow cool sighting augmented by awesome pix! You da man! :supz: :supz:
User avatar
Jan K
I've Got Gills
Posts: 4870
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 5:02 pm

Re: New Critter For Me - Spinyhead Sculpin

Post by Jan K »

Dusty2 wrote:Wow cool sighting augmented by awesome pix! You da man! :supz: :supz:
+1 :)
http://JanKocian.smugmug.com

Photographers who are obsessed with the quixotic pursuit of the perfect picture... (Brandon Cole)
User avatar
WylerBear
I've Got Gills
Posts: 1293
Joined: Thu Aug 24, 2006 10:29 am

Re: New Critter For Me - Spinyhead Sculpin

Post by WylerBear »

Very cool!
Georgia

NOT diving is NOT an option
User avatar
nwscubamom
I've Got Gills
Posts: 2313
Joined: Tue Mar 14, 2006 11:13 am

Re: New Critter For Me - Spinyhead Sculpin

Post by nwscubamom »

Wonderful photos, Tom! Nice to see that a few of these are being seen nowadays. Gotta get out and find me some!
- Janna :)
Janna Nichols
My underwater photo galleries
REEF Citizen Science Program Manager
Seen any cool critters lately?
><((((°>
-----------------------------
User avatar
LCF
I've Got Gills
Posts: 5697
Joined: Tue May 30, 2006 5:05 pm

Re: New Critter For Me - Spinyhead Sculpin

Post by LCF »

Thank you for the excellent photographs at a variety of angles -- things like that are SO helpful to someone who would like to recognize the critter if they ever come across it!
"Sometimes, when your world is going sideways, the second best thing to everything working out right, is knowing you are loved..." ljjames
User avatar
Tom Nic
I've Got Gills
Posts: 9367
Joined: Mon Apr 10, 2006 6:26 pm

Re: New Critter For Me - Spinyhead Sculpin

Post by Tom Nic »

Thanks everyone - it is not often that you get to find and photograph a new critter!

I am being as intentional as I can abt photographing a critter I'm trying to I'D, ESPECIALLYa Sculpin, from as many angles as possible.

Fortunately this guy was as still as a stone and let me have my way until my buddies were swimming off!
More Pics Than You Have Time To Look AT
"Anyone who thinks this place is over moderated is bat-crazy anarchist." -Ben, Airsix
"Warning: No dive masters are going to be there, Just a bunch of old fat guys taking pictures of fish." -Bassman
Biodiversity_Guy
Extreme Diving Machine
Posts: 449
Joined: Sun Nov 25, 2007 11:30 pm

Re: New Critter For Me - Spinyhead Sculpin

Post by Biodiversity_Guy »

Nice pics. Great find!
warnj
Hi, I'm New To NWDC!
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Dec 09, 2018 11:51 am

Re: New Critter For Me - Spinyhead Sculpin

Post by warnj »

I found a spinyhead sculpin diving Northwest Island yesterday. Wasn't sure what it was until I saw the pictures in this thread. Very different habitat from Tom's original sighting. 60ft deep, day dive, rocky ledge habitat. The sculpin I saw was smaller, maybe 5 inches long.
Attachments
Spinyhead Sculpin (2).JPG
Spinyhead Sculpin.JPG
User avatar
ScubaJess
NWDC Moderator
NWDC Moderator
Posts: 2595
Joined: Fri Aug 08, 2014 3:56 pm

Re: New Critter For Me - Spinyhead Sculpin

Post by ScubaJess »

What a cool find 🥳🐟🐟🐟🐟
Live Long And Prosper!!!

Stay Warm underwater with the Weezle Extreme Plus undergarment! Please let me know if you would like to order one or have any questions. :luv: :partydance: :eric: :taco:
Post Reply