Introducing our March 2021 Fish of the Month, the comical and adorably plump Spiny Lumpsucker!
Survey Regions: Spiny Lumpsuckers are found in temperate to cold waters. The Pacific Spiny Lumpsucker, Eumicrotremus orbis, is found in REEF's Pacific Coast (PAC) survey region. The Atlantic Spiny Lumpsucker, Eumicrotremus spinosus, is found in REEF's Northeast US and Canada (NE) survey region. Check out the species distribution reports here: Atlantic Spiny Lumpsucker - Northeast US and Canada (NE) and Pacific Spiny Lumpsucker - Pacific Coast (PAC). Atlantic Spiny Lumpsuckers are also found in the northern reaches of the Eastern Atlantic and Mediterranean (EAM) region, but have not yet been reported in the REEF database in this region.
Size: These small fish measure only 1-3 inches in length.
Identifying Features: Spiny Lumpsuckers are spherical and come in a variety of colors including yellow, orange, green, purple or brown. Their bodies are covered in spiny plate-like structures called tubercules. Their pelvic fins have evolved into a suction cup-like disc, allowing them to anchor themselves to objects like rocks, kelp, and eelgrass.
Fun Facts: Spiny Lumpsuckers are in the family Cyclopteridae, a group of nearly 30 cold-water dwelling fish species; including both the Pacific and Atlantic Spiny Lumpsuckers, as well the Smooth Lumpsucker and even larger fish like the Lumpfish. If you like this fish, you can join the Spiny Lumpsucker Team when you sign up for REEF's Fish Out of Water Virtual 5K! Click here to learn more.
Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for our next Fish of the Month!
[Photos by Ed Gullekson (Pacific) and Andrew Martinez (Atlantic)]