Pacific Spiny Lumpsucker – the fish, the disc, the marvel

Pacific Spiny Lumpsucker – the fish, the disc, the marvel

Right now I proper an ideal fallacious. For a way can or not it’s I didn’t have a weblog that includes the Pacific Spiny Lumpsucker? This is likely one of the most cryptic and astoundingly tailored fish within the north Pacific Ocean.

Yesterday, I chanced upon the person within the picture beneath and he’s what lastly catalyzed this weblog. Simply take a look at him! He’s solely about 2 cm lengthy. I seen him as a result of he was swimming / hovering round like a minuscule zeppelin. Then he alighted on a rock, securing with the pelvic disc this species depends upon.

Pacific Spiny Lumpsucker who lives in Kwakwaka’wakw Territory close to Telegraph Cove.
Photographed November 6, 2021

To be a bit of, spherical fish like this, nature needed to do one thing to be sure you don’t roll over. You want to have the ability to safe, not solely to rock, however to seaweeds and Eelgrass. The “answer” is that Pacific Spiny Lumpsuckers are among the many fish species through which the pelvic fins have advanced right into a sucker on their bellies.

This species has very small pectoral fins (even relative to physique dimension) and doesn’t have a swim bladder to assist with buoyancy. All of the extra must have the disc to have the ability to maintain on between quick hovering swims.

My video of a Pacific Spiny Lumpsucker from 2015.

Pacific Spiny Lumpsuckers don’t have scales however slightly have lumpy, bony plates often known as “tubercles”. Possibly these are what the “lump” of their widespread title refers to.

There have been many artistic makes an attempt to explain the general look of Pacific Spiny Lumpsuckers from merely “cute” to “pingpong ball with fins”, to “swimming strawberries”, “underwater bumble bees”, and . . . “a fish that has quietly come to phrases with wanting idiotic”. Thanks Dr. Milton Love for that final descriptor. You’ll be able to think about the numerous jokes and allusions made about their title which “seems like a Shakespearean insult” (remark made by Angela Flute on YouTube).

The species title Eumicrotremus orbis references their rotundity and dimension. Most recognized size is 12.7 cm however they’re extra typically a lot smaller, round 2.5 cm.

I consider the Pacific Spiny Lumpsucker we noticed yesterday was a male as a result of mature males are reported to be uninteresting orange to reddish brown. Mature females are pale inexperienced and have extra and bigger tubercles.

One other male and you’ll see a part of the pelvic disc. ©Jackie Hildering

The one in Paul Wright’s video beneath is most positively a male. See the egg-guarding? Male Pacific Spiny Lumpsuckers guard the eggs after fertilizing them, oxygenating them by wafting water over them and defending them from predators. It’s reported that males die after the eggs hatch and that the females die after egg laying (common of 202 eggs, dimension of every egg is ~2.2 mm). Outdoors of when they’re breeding, this can be a solitary species. Seem to have a life expectancy of round 1 12 months in aquariums (Casey Prepare dinner, pers. com).

It’s regular that Pacific Spiny Lumpsucker’s mouths are nearly at all times open and that they look like panting (as you see within the video).

Video by W. Paul Wright from 2014with descriptor: “Video taken in Gibsons British Columbia. Male lumpsucker tending to newly laid eggs in discarded Ponds jar.”

Video by Ricky Belanger from 2018.

Video by Victoria Excessive College from 2009 from their aquarium.

Additional species data:

Vary: Northern Washington to the Bering Sea, alongside the Aleutian Islands to Siberia and northern Japan. Intertidal to 575 m. Supply: Lamb and Edgell, 2010.

Weight loss program: “Small crustaceans akin to gammarid andy hyperiid amphipods, together with caprellid amphipods, isopods, and cumaceans” [hooded shrimp species]. Supply: Love, 2011.

He’s not smiling. YOU’RE smiling.
©Jackie Hildering


Arita, G. S. (December 01, 1969). Sexual Dimorphism within the Cyclopterid Fish Eumicrotremus orbis. Journal of the Fisheries Analysis Board of Canada, 26, 12, 3262-3265.

Aquarium of the Pacific – Pacific Spiny Lumpsucker

Prepare dinner, Casey, private communication November 7, 2021

FishBase – Eumicrotremus orbis

Lamb, A., & Edgell, P. (2010). Coastal fishes of the Pacific Northwest. Madeira Park, B.C: Harbour Pub.

Love, M. S. (2011). Definitely greater than you need to know concerning the fishes of the Pacific Coast: A postmodern expertise. Santa Barbara, Calif: Actually Huge Press.

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