From the Deep
In this continuing series we today look at a rarely seen but very pretty little fish known as a Silverspotted Sculpin (Blepsias cirrhosus). Sliver spots are a scorpaeniform marine fish and are in the in very large Hemitripteridae family made up of over 250 members of fish species.
A tall and deeply notched first dorsal fin makes the Silverspotted Sculpin relatively easy to identify once you find one. It also has a line of silver spots running along each of its sides, and a patch of hair-like cirri projecting out from around its mouth. While it may be easy to identify, it can be quite difficult to spot: its prominent, leafy-looking fins and golden brown or dark green colouring help it camouflage among kelp.
Growing up to 20 cm in length, these sculpins inhabit the intertidal and subtidal to depths of 40 meter (120 ft.) or more, though they are more common at relatively shallow depths.
The Silverspot’s range extends along coasts on both sides of the Pacific, from northern California to the Aleutian Islands and Bering Sea, and across to Asia as far south as the Sea of Japan.
Photographing these little sculpins can be quite challenging, not only because of their camouflaging abilities but also the areas that they live. Swimming through eelgrass beds and along sandy bottoms, peering around rocks and lifting up kelp fronds can be sometimes boring, sometimes tiring work but spotting one of these fish is truly rewarding.
Similar to other fish and typical sculpin behavior, most photos are of tails of fish as they swim away from you. Be very patient, wait for these fish to make the first move and then anticipate their next one, that way you’ll land the shot you're looking for.
Thanks for reading and good luck.
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