E-Fauna BC: Electronic Atlas of the Wildlife of British Columbia

Leptocottus armatus Girard, 1854
Pacific Staghorn Sculpin
Family: Cottidae
Photo of species

© Tim Loh  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #71905)

Source: Distribution of Leptocottus armatus as compiled by Aquamaps
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Species Information

Dorsal spines (total): 6 - 8; Dorsal soft rays (total): 15 - 20; Anal spines: 0; Anal soft rays: 15 - 20; Vertebrae: 37 - 39. Distinguished by the large upper preopercular spine ending in 3 or 4 sharp, upturned, curved spinules and by the large, dark spot on the posterior part of the spiny dorsal fin (Ref. 27547). Gill rakers reduced to flat, bony plates, each bearing a cluster of small teeth; lateral line nearly straight; each pore associated with a small subdermal cartilaginous plate (Ref. 27547). Caudal rounded (Ref. 6885). Grayish olive to rather green, occasionally with some yellow, dorsally; orange-yellow to white or silvery below lateral line; spiny dorsal dusky, with a black spot near tips of last 3 spines, a white band below it; soft dorsal fin dusky, with several oblique white to yellowish bands; pectorals yellow with 5 or 6 dark greenish bars; caudal dusky with one or two pale bands; anal and pelvic fins pale (Ref. 27547).

Source: FishBase. Eschmeyer, W.N., E.S. Herald and H Hammann. 1983 . (Ref. 2850)


Species Biology

Commonly found near shore, especially in bays and estuaries; most frequently on sandy bottom (Ref. 2850). Intertidal individuals breath air when out of water (Ref. 31184). Can leave tide pools if aquatic conditions become inhospitable (Ref. 31184). Although some individuals may spend their entire life in highly saline waters (Ref. 28693), some newly metamorphosed young move from the estuarine spawning sites to completely fresh water and may remain there for up to 6 weeks (Ref. 27547). Adults apparently tend to remain in the shallow lower estuary, or farther offshore (Ref. 27547). Feeds mostly on crabs, shrimps and amphipods, but also takes larval, juvenile and adult fishes, as well as polychaete worms, mollusks and other invertebrates (Ref. 4930). Expands its gill covers and produces a low-pitched humming sound when stressed (Ref. 6885). Environment: demersal; amphidromous (Ref. 51243); brackish; marine; depth range 0 - 156 m. Climate: temperate; 60°N - 33°N

Source: FishBase. Eschmeyer, W.N., E.S. Herald and H Hammann. 1983 . (Ref. 2850)



Eastern Pacific: Izembek Lagoon, on the southeastern Bering Sea coast of Alaska to Bahia San Quintin, northern Baja California, Mexico.

Source: FishBase. Eschmeyer, W.N., E.S. Herald and H Hammann. 1983 . (Ref. 2850)

Status Information

Origin StatusProvincial StatusBC List
(Red Blue List)
NativeSNRNo StatusNot Listed
BC Ministry of Environment: BC Species and Ecosystems Explorer--the authoritative source for conservation information in British Columbia.

Additional Range and Status Information Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References

Recommended citation: Author, Date. Page title. In Klinkenberg, Brian. (Editor) 2021. E-Fauna BC: Electronic Atlas of the Fauna of British Columbia [efauna.bc.ca]. Lab for Advanced Spatial Analysis, Department of Geography, University of British Columbia, Vancouver. [Accessed: 2024-04-22 8:53:47 AM]
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