Shorthorn sculpin

Myoxocephalus scorpius

Shorthorn sculpins can reach up to 79 cm size in very cold waters but as the waters get warmer they get smaller. Maximum size around Iceland is about 40 cm.


The shorthorn sculpin is a shallow water fish, as seashore anglers know, and is not common below 25 meters depth. Therefore, it is rarely caught in commercial fishing gear that are mostly used in deeper waters. The distribution of shorthorn sculpin is similar to cod. It is found throughout the North Atlantic, both on the American and European sides. It is also found in the North Pacific. Closely related species are found all over the Arctic and Sub-Arctic.


The shorthorn sculpin is a stout and powerful predatory fish, i.e. it eats other fish. For that, he has a big mouth. It is usually found in kelp forests or on rocky bottoms. It is usually the colour of the bottom where it hides. As another fish approaches, it lunges out and swallows it. The shorthorn sculpin is one of the few fish that guard their eggs. It spawns on the bottom early in the year, where the male guards them until they hatch in spring.


The Shorthorn sculpin is found all around Iceland and is common is shallow waters. It is one of the best-known fish to Icelanders, at least among those who fish from piers. On the other hand, it is rather unpopular to catch it and few seek it out. It also has many spines and can therefore sting. Of course, this is his method of saying “leave me alone”.


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