Tap here
for menu

New Jersey Scuba Diving

Bananas!

New Jersey Scuba Diving

River & Inlet Fishes

Fishes

These fishes are most likely to be found on or near the bottom in the rivers and inlets, either resting or swimming around. In addition, many of the types more often found out at sea may be found in the rivers and inlets. In addition, many tropical fishes may be found here as well.

Many of the types presented here are representative of entire families of similar related species. While some are closely related, others are not. These particular species are the most common in our area.


Oyster Toadfish

River & Inlet Fishes

Opsanus tau

Size: to 15"

Habitat: Generally inshore on hard bottoms and in shellfish beds, in 30-40 foot depths.

Notes:

Small but feisty, this fish may snap at your fingers with its powerful jaws when caught. Up close, Toadfish have ugly ogre-like faces, and eyes that seem to glow red from inside. They also make loud croaking noises during breeding season. Toadfish are favorite laboratory subjects, and have even flown in orbit on the Space Shuttle.



download: Fishes of the Gulf of Maine


Longhorn Sculpin

River & Inlet Fishes

Myoxocephalus octodecimspinosus

Size: to 18"

Habitat: Generally inshore in harbors and inlets, in 30-40 foot depths, but moves out to deep waters in winter.

Notes:

Sculpins have sharp spines around the head area - best to leave them alone. Sculpins are capable of loud vocalizations. Grubby is similar but smaller with more rounded tail.


Grubby


download: Fishes of the Gulf of Maine


Longhorn Sculpin


Naked Goby

River & Inlet Fishes

Gobiosoma bosci

Size: to 2 1/2 "

Habitat: bays, estuaries, protected coastal waters

Notes:

This is a funny little fish that prefers to hide under oyster shells and the like. Named for its complete lack of scales.


Feather Blenny

River & Inlet Fishes

Hypsoblennius hentzi

Size: to 5"

Habitat: bays, estuaries, protected coastal waters

Notes:

Blennies live on the bottom in oyster beds or mussel beds. If you find an old piece of pipe or a bottle in the river, look inside - you'll probably find a blenny.Feather Blennies have branching "horns" over the eyes, called cirri.

Similar Striped Blenny has a more pointed profile with almost invisible cirri. I have not yet encountered the third and final species of blenny in our area - the Seaweed Blenny.



Inshore Lizardfish

River & Inlet Fishes

Synodus foetens

Size: to 18"

Habitat: almost anywhere, but favors shallow waters

Notes:

You will find these at night in the river, perched on their fins, with alligator-like jaws studded with teeth waiting for some unfortunate killy to come by. Spook it, and the Lizardfish will dart away too fast to see.


Northern Pipefish

River & Inlet Fishes

Syngnathus fuscus

Size: to 12"

Habitat: Weedy protected shore waters.

Notes:

The Northern Pipefish is the only common inshore species in our area. Pipefishes are closely related to Seahorses, and found in the same kind of habitats. They lack the seahorse's prehensile tail, but are much better swimmers than their coiled cousins.


download: Fishes of the Gulf of Maine


Lined Seahorse

River & Inlet Fishes

Hippocampus erectus

Size: to 6"

Habitat: Weedy protected shore waters.

Notes:

Look for Seahorses in still weedy areas, where they cling to plants and objects with their prehensile tails. Color and body form are highly variable, as these masters of camouflage adapt to their surroundings. Strays may be found at sea, or even washed up on the beach.

Locomotion is accomplished by fluttering the dorsal and pectoral fins, and they are extremely weak swimmers, utterly unable to buck a current. Males have a brood pouch where they incubate the eggs, then give birth to fully-formed miniature copies of themselves. Seahorses feed on plankton, which they suck up with their tubular snouts, making a distinct popping sound. They are tolerant of brackish water, but not fresh.


Sticklebacks

River & Inlet Fishes

Gasterosteus aculeatus
( Threespine, right )

Apeltes quadracus
( Fourspine, below )

Size:
to 4" (threespine)
to 2" (fourspine)

Habitat:
Weedy shore waters, occasionally at sea or even in fresh water.

Notes:
Sticklebacks are related to Pipefish and Seahorses. Three- and four- spined varieties are common to our area. A Ninespine variety is also possible.


Male Threespine Stickleback in breeding colors


download: Fishes of the Gulf of Maine - 3-Spined Stickleback


download: Fishes of the Gulf of Maine - 4-Spined Stickleback


Search

Disclaimer:

I make no claim as to the accuracy, validity, or appropriateness of any information found in this website. I will not be responsible for the consequences of any action that is based upon information found here. Scuba diving is an adventure sport, and as always, you alone are responsible for your own safety and well being.

Copyright © 1996-2016 Rich Galiano
unless otherwise noted

429797
79495
643

835

since 2016-09-11