This weekend the Marine Exhibit was busy as the Thanksgiving crowds came to visit our animals. Although some of the tanks were empty, there was still plenty of entertainment. The octopuses were out and showing off, crabs were stealing food from sea stars and the first two grunt sculpin eggs hatched.
Grunt Sculpins (Rhamphocottus richardsonii) are squat little fish with a long snout and spiny fins. They are called grunt sculpins because they actually grunt when taken out of the water! Grunt sculpins range from the Gulf of Alaska to Santa Monica Bay, California and are found in tidepools and shallow water. They only grow to be about 8.3 cm (3.3 in) long. They aren't good swimmers so they use their pectoral fins to crawl around on rocks and the sea floor. They like to hide in giant barnacle shells and the females will trap a male in a barnacle shell until he fertilizes her eggs. Unfortunately, not much is known about the life cycle or behavior of the adorable little fish. What are their predators? Does the male or female guard the eggs? What is their population size? Maybe someday I'll study them and become the definitive expert on grunt sculpins.
Keeping an eye on the eggs
You can come see these cute fish and all our other animals December 26th and 27th and January 2nd and 3rd.