Family Stichaeidae



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