The Painted Greenling of the Pacific Northwest
The painted greenling is a common fish in our in coastal waters, but they are not often seen, you should enjoy the sighting when one is found.
The color of a painted greenling is usually grayish to brown with up to 7 reddish to brown bars that extend onto the fins. Sometimes they can be dark with white spots though this is really quite rare. The throat is usually darker than the body and its fins can have dark spots. They have 2 cirri, one above the eye and the other between the eye and the dorsal fin. The anal fin has up to 4 spines. The snout of this species is pointed with 3 dark bands that radiate out from the eye. They can reach lengths of up to 15 cm and have an lifespan of about 8 years.
The painted greenling can be found from Alaska to California but are quite rare from Vancouver Island north. They can be found from shoreline shallows to around 50 meters deep.
These fish will sometimes take up residence in the fronds of the sea anemones which are quite venomous to most other animals, but are harmless to the painted greenling.
The painted greenling has a varied diet consisting of crustaceans, and small mollusks along with other types of bottom dwellers.
The greenling males can live up to 8 years, the female can live for a few more years than the males and they tend to be a bit larger. The female will lay egg masses in nests on exposed rocky reefs. These egg masses are guarded by the males. Sometimes a male may guard more than 1 egg mass in the same nest.
During the colder winter months, these fish become quite inactive and tend to stay hidden in their shelters. During the warmer months. they only venture forth from their shelters during the day.