Northern Clingfish      Gobiesox maeandricus



The Northern Clingfish is a common intertidal and shallow subtidal inhabitant of rocky areas from SE Alaska to the Baja Peninsula.  It is one of several unusual local fish that have suckers on their bellies.  Normally found under rocks or clinging to kelp, it uses it's sucker to keep strong water movement from carrying it away. The sucker, formed from it's pectoral and pelvic fins, is also used at low tide to hold some water close to the gills for breathing.  It's body is further modified by having a compressed head, tadpole-like body proportions and smooth skin.  The skin is darkly colored, ranging  from a gray to brown or red with a chain-like dark pattern.  Individual's are commonly around 3 inches long, but can range up to 6 inches.


While feeding on small limpets, chitons, and other small molluscs, it uses it's sucker as an anchor so that the head and bottom teeth can be used to pry a limpet or chiton off a rock.


The Northern Clingfish can fall prey to a variety of animals that hunt among the rocks at high tide.  However it is also at risk during low tide when upland predators such as snakes and raccoons hunt among the boulders.


Reproduction occurs in the early spring when eggs are deposited on the underside of rocks.  The males remain to tend the egg masses. The larvae are planktonic.