Saltwater Fish, Pacific Northwest
The longfin gunnel is a species of marine fish in the family Pholidae. It is a small fish that can remain out of the water and breathe air. It can be found all along the Pacific coast, including the waters surrounding Vancouver Island, look for it in shallow waters.
The longfin gunnel, like other gunnels, is somewhat eel-like. It grows to a maximum length of about 25 cm. This fish is able to breathe air for long periods of time as long as it can remain wet.
This species is found along the western Pacific, from Alaska to northern California, including the waters of the BC Coastal Region. The longfin gunnel lives in shallow, marine areas. It may also be found out of water under seaweed or rocks. It is known to live in the demersal zone at depths of up to about 70 meters. This fish is common in such habitats as tide pools and in the mid-tidal zone environment and may be found hiding under along the shore under various types of debris.
This species prefers to eat marine worms and small species of crustacean. They have also been seen eating the eggs of other fish.
Little is known about how the longfin gunnel reproduces. It is thought that they spawn during winter, they lay their eggs on the underside of a seashell or under a stone in a nest prepared by the male. The male remains to guard the eggs, fanning them with his tail. The female leaves right after laying the eggs.
These little fish are beautiful and its always a thrill to see them, when looking at low tide for them, lift seaweed covered rocks to locate them, you will also see the black prickleback in the same areas.