Tide Pool Sculpin

Tide Pool Sculpin, Vancouver Island, BC
Tide Pool Sculpin, Vancouver Island, BC, Photo By Bud Logan

The Tide Pool Sculpin is a very common fish along the shores of the Pacific Northwest 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 intertidal 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.

Another interesting characteristic of this species is its ability to find its way back to its favorite tide pool. Tidepool sculpin survives 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, Vancouver Island, BC
Tide Pool Sculpin, Vancouver Island, BC, Photo By Bud Logan

Tide Pool Sculpins are commonly found in tide pools. The well-camouflaged tide pool 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 seawater. 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!

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