Friday, July 10, 2009

Life Photo Meme: Spiny

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Actinoptergii

Order: Scorpaeniformes

Family: Cyclopteridae

This is my all-time favorite fish, the Pacific spiny lumpsucker (Eumicrotremus orbis). They are found in shallow waters and seldom go deeper than 500 ft (152 m). They are found in northern waters from Washington up to Alaska, and also off the coast of Japan. They are so small and cute. The largest they can get is 5 in (13 cm), while your average lumpsucker is 1 in (2.5 cm)

They are very poor swimmers, owing to their round body and small fins. They also lack a swim bladder, so when they stop swimming they sink. What is most distinctive about them is the large suction cup that they have. The suction cup is a pair of highly modified pelvic fins, that helps them stick onto rocks.

The females tend to have a greenish hue to the plates that cover their body, while the males have a red tint. They eat small crustaceans and worms.

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