Selected Characters: Body elongate, compressed; dorsal and anal fins long; mouth small; anal fin origin at or before midbody; all dorsal rays spinous in most species; pelvic fins thoracic and small if present.
This a family of elongate fishes found in the cool northern oceans, with most species in the northern Pacific. Most species are less than 25 cm long, but a few may reach 50 cm. Pricklebacks are generally found inshore and at the bottom. They can frequently be found in tidepools. In most species, all the dorsal rays are strong, sharp spines (the source of the name 'prickleback'), although some species have a few soft-rays at the posterior end of the dorsal fin. Pricklebacks feed on a variety of invertebrates, larvae and algae. There are about 65 species with 11 found here. This family is common in Puget Sound.
Puget Sound Species
Anoplarchus insignis Slender Cockscomb
Anoplarchus purpurescens High Cockscomb
Chirolophis decoratus Decorated Warbonnet
Chirolophis nugator Mosshead Warbonnet
Lumpenus maculatus Daubed Shanny
Lumpenus sagitta Snake Prickleback
Phytichthys chirus Ribbon Prickleback
Plectobranchus evides Bluebarred Prickleback
Poroclinus rothrocki Whitebarred Prickleback
Xiphister atropurpureus Black Prickleback
Xiphister mucosus Rock Prickleback