High Cockscomb

Anoplarchus purpurescens

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The High Cockscomb is a small, ray-finned fish that looks similar to a tiny eel. This animal rarely reach lengths in excess of 20 cm and can be identified by their long tubelike body and soft dorsal rays that follow the length of the entire back. There are no discernible pelvic fins. Both males and females can vary greatly in color, although males are you usually much brighter, especially during mating season. Colors can range from black and dark brown to olive green and pink. Generally, the body is covered with a of reticulated pattern that allows the fish to blend into the rocky substrate where it lives.

High Cockscombs feed on polychaete worms, crustaceans and mollusks. They are a food source to seabirds and sea otters, as well as terrestrial species like raccoons and snakes.

Interestingly, these fish can breathe air, and if kept moist, can survive out of the water for many hours.

Range and Habitat

The High Cockscomb can be found from Alaska to California. They prefer intertidal zones with a gravel or crushed shell seabed at a depth of approximately 100 feet (30 meters).

Conservation Status