The Pacific spiny lumpsucker (Eumicrotremus orbis) has to be the cutest fish on the west coast. This little juvenile was only about an inch (2.5 cm) long, and spotted casually resting on a kelp frond. It’s interesting to watch these small fish move as they tend to lift vertically up and hover like a helicopter then move slightly and float back down for a soft landing. The lumpsucker has modified pelvic fins that have evolved into rounded suction discs that can stick to the surrounding rocks and plant material. This fish is a rare find for me, and so far I have only discovered it twice while diving; both times at the Ogden Point Breakwater in Victoria. The Pacific spiny lumpsucker can grow up to 5 inches (12 cm) long, with a range that includes Japan, Siberia, and northern Alaska to northern Washington.
Click on the image below to see a close-up of the modified pelvic fins that have evolved into suction discs. I took this image on one of my many explorations of the Vancouver Aquarium. It’s interesting seeing the underside of this small fish as it is attached to the glass of the aquarium.