Pacific staghorn sculpin

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Pacific staghorn sculpin
Image from page 383 of "Bulletin of the United States Fish Commission" (1906) (20488778482).jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Superclass: Osteichthyes
Class: Actinopterygii
Subclass: Neopterygii
Order: Scorpaeniformes[1]
Family: Cottidae
Genus: Leptocottus
Girard, 1854
Species: L. armatus
Binomial name
Leptocottus armatus
Girard, 1854

The Pacific staghorn sculpin, Leptocottus armatus, is a common sculpin (Cottidae) found in shallow coastal waters along the Pacific coast from Alaska to Baja California. The sole member of its genus, it is unusual for having spined antler-like projections on its gill covers; it can raise the projections as a defense mechanism.

Staghorn sculpins are slender fish, with a grayish olive above, pale creamy yellow sides, and a white belly. The first dorsal fin has 7 spines and usually a dark spot in the posterior half, while the second dorsal has 17 rays. The anal fin also has 17 rays, while the pelvic fins have four rays. The fins have barred patterns of varying prominence. They can reach a length of 46 cm.

They are common in estuaries and coastal lagoons, where they feed on a variety of invertebrates, primarily amphipods such as Corophium.



  1. ^ "Scorpaeniformes". Paleobiology Database. Retrieved November 15, 2012.