Decorated warbonnet

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Decorated warbonnet
Decorated warbonnet (Chirolophis decoratus).jpg
Scientific classification
C. decoratus
Binomial name
Chirolophis decoratus
(Jordan & Snyder, 1902)

The decorated warbonnet (Chirolophis decoratus) is a fish of the Stichaeidae family. Its genus name, Chirolophis, comes from two Greek roots: chiros (meaning hand) and lophos (meaning crest). The species name, decoratus, is a Latin word meaning ornamented.[1] The decorated warbonnet was given its name because of the prominent cirri on its head which resembles the feathers in an Indian Chieftain's war bonnet.

Common names[edit]

Some of the C. decoratus' most common names are:[2]

  • Decorated warbonnet
  • Decorated prickleback
  • Decorated blenny


The bold cirri on its head extend continuously along its dorsal fin. More cirri project from the preoperculum, operculum, and under the lower jaw. There is some speculation as to the purpose of the cirri. It could act as camouflage to help the fish blend in with the surrounding mossy invertebrates which surround its habitat. Another possibility is that it acts as a lure for unsuspecting fish.[2] Behind the head, the body is eel-like and can grow up to 42 cm (about 15 inches) long. Coloration is pale brown with white to cream markings, being paler below. The upper part of the body contains irregular light areas and the lower contain vertical light bars. Dark bars run from the eyes down. There are also dark bars on the dorsal fins, caudal fins, and anal fins. The large eyes and thick lips give the decorated warbonnet an almost cartoon like look. They have 61 or 62 total dorsal spines, 0 dorsal soft rays, 1 anal spine, and anywhere from 44 to 51 anal soft rays. Its caudal fin is rounded.[3]


The decorated warbonnet is a salt water fish which is found in the North Pacific from Kamchatka, Russia through the Aleutian Chain and the Bering Sea to the Bering Strait coasts of Alaska and Humboldt Bay, California, USA. They are a cold-water fish that tend to live in rocks, seaweed, algae, and crevices along the rocky ocean floor. The depth range is sub tidal to 91 meters. They are very shy creatures and rarely travel far from their home. They stay in their habitat for long periods of time.[3]


The diet of the decorated warbonnet consists mainly of small invertebrates including mollusks, polychae'tes, crustaceans, hydroids, and anemones. It will also eat shrimp and other small creatures which wander near its habitat.[4]

Human uses[edit]

Because of its relative rarity and interesting appearance, the decorated warbonnet is used mainly for human enjoyment in aquariums.


  1. ^ Denning, David. "A Fish With A Furry Head". Retrieved September 2011. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  2. ^ a b Stang, David. "Chirolophis decoratus (Decorated Prickleback)". Retrieved September 2011. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ a b "Chirolophis Decoratus". Archived from the original on 2012-04-26. Retrieved September 2011. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  4. ^ Robson, Collins (October 1967). California Fish and Game (PDF). 62 (4): 326 Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-04-25. Retrieved September 2011. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help); Missing or empty |title= (help)