On Exhibit: Rocky Shore
small fishes, shrimp, crabs and other crustaceans
5.5 inches (14 cm)
cabezon, Red Irish Lord, other sculpins; Family: Cottidae
Washington to Baja California
Coralline sculpins hug the bottoms of Pacific coast tide pools. Although common, these fishes can be hard to see—their colors blend in well as they hide among seaweeds and rocks. Their camouflage makes it hard for bigger fishes and hungry birds to find them.
As the tide comes in, coralline sculpins often leave their home pools and follow the incoming water to hunt in pools higher up. When the tide falls again, they head straight back to the pool in which they started.
You can help protect rocky shores. When you visit the seashore, pick up trash and carry it out with you. Aluminum cans, fishing line and plastic rings can harm ocean animals. And please leave rocky shore plants and animals where you find them.
This is one of the "tidepool johnnies," a group of small sculpins you're most likely to spot when you visit a tide pool.