The Tide Pool Sculpin of the Pacific Northwest
The Tide Pool Sculpin is a very common fish along the shores of the BC coast and the rest of the north pacific from Alaska to Washington. Though these fish only reach about 8 cm and live a maximum of five years, they thrive in the turbulent waters of the inter tidal zone. They also have the ability to withstand very cold water temperatures. In the Bering Sea they have been known to live in temperatures as low as 2 degrees Celsius.
Other interesting characteristics of this species, is their ability to find their way back to their favorite tidepool. Tide pool sculpin survive by eating isopods, amphipods, shrimp and worms. In turn, they are often eaten by larger fish like the kelp greenling. They range in coloration from gray to brown and even green with multi colored speckles.
Tide Pool Sculpin are commonly found in tide pools. The well camouflaged tidepool sculpins hide in crevices throughout the tide pools of the BC coastal region, and can easily be observed by wading into tide pools from shore.
Tide Pool Sculpins mature in one year and may live as long as five. During the summer reproductive season, the male transfers sperm to the genital canal of the female, where they attach to eggs, but actual fertilization does not take place until the eggs are laid into sea water. Females lay several batches of eggs each year. The eggs stick to the substrate but, unlike those of many other sculpins, are not guarded by either adult.
They are rather sedentary fish, remaining in a small home range throughout the year. If displaced by a curious researcher, however, they have been able to return to their limited home range from as much as 100 meters away, using their well developed sense of smell. These tiny fish in their own way are just as impressive as the salmon that find their home streams after spending time out in the ocean!