- Cabezon is Spanish for large head, which is a main characteristic of these fish
- Large, scaleless fish with a broad bony support extending from the eye across the cheek just under the skin.
- They have 11 spines on their dorsal fin (upright fin on their back) and a thick spine before their eyes
- Can reach 3 feet in length and 31 pounds in weight; Females are larger than males
- Females greenish in color, with lots of mottling to help with camouflage
- Their skin and mouth can look blue
- Native to the Pacific coast of North America
- North Alaska to central Baja California, Mexico
- Rocky, muddy, and sandy bottoms, and kelp beds
- Young settle in pools within the intertidal zone (area of shoreline covered at high tide and uncovered at low tide)
- Depths of 0–656 feet
- Cabezon feed on crustaceans (aquatic arthropods like crab and lobster), mollusks (invertebrates like squid and octopus) , fish, and fish eggs.
- Larger fish, marine mammals
- Cabezon spines, internal organs, and eggs are considered toxic to humans, but their meat can be consumed. Their meat is blue, but will turn white when cooked!
- Unlike most fish, cabezons lack a swim bladder. Thus, there is no damage to their tissues when they are brought up from deep pressure (depths) quickly.
- Cabezon is Spanish for ‘large head’, which is a main characteristic of these fish.
- Cabezon are the largest sculpin species.
Sources: California Sea Grant; FishBio; Ben Frable, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Photo: Herb Gruenhagen