WEST SEATTLE WILDLIFE: Ever seen one of these?

Thanks to Kersti Muul for the photos. What looked to someone like a seal pup at a distance off Duwamish Head earlier this week …

… turned out instead to be a bottomfish called a cabezon:

Despite her extensive wildlife involvement, Kersti says she’s never seen one of those before.

They’re not rare or endangered, though. This state Fish and Wildlife Department fact sheet says, “Cabezon is the largest of the sculpin species found in Washington waters.” They can grow to over three feet long.

18 Replies to "WEST SEATTLE WILDLIFE: Ever seen one of these?"

  • anonyme September 18, 2021 (12:01 pm)

    OMG – what a fantastic discovery!  Just sorry that it’s dead…

  • beanie September 18, 2021 (12:01 pm)

    My first thought was a ling cod! Those guys can get huge and have similar giant heads. But Cabezon sounds cool!

  • jed September 18, 2021 (12:28 pm)

    wow! impressive

  • WSCurmudgeon September 18, 2021 (12:35 pm)

    “Here’s looking at you, kid.”

    For those too young to get the reference:


  • Scubafrog September 18, 2021 (1:44 pm)

    Would you look at that….   “Poisonous spines and an attitude to match”.  Apparently they lie motionless and snap up unsuspecting pray.   Hopefully this one had a long, happy life for a Cabezon.

  • kerstimuul September 18, 2021 (2:21 pm)

    Distinguished from some other look alikes by its tiny little horns🤘 (cirrus) above its eyes..Which are sensory organs

    • K b September 19, 2021 (8:18 am)

      This is so cool! Did not notice the horns at first. Thanks for sharing!!!

  • momosmom September 18, 2021 (2:32 pm)

    wscurmudgeon, For the youngsters…https://youtu.be/MC4HRUj6ftw

    • waikikigirl September 18, 2021 (5:57 pm)

      That’s exactly what I’d say if I saw that fish,  Aye carumba!!!

  • AmyC September 18, 2021 (3:43 pm)

    We’ve caught some big cabezon up off of Point Wilson (in Port Townsend/Fort Worden State Park). Usually while fishing for greenling. Pretty cool looking fish!

  • curbfeeler September 18, 2021 (5:15 pm)

    Cabeza is Spanish for head, thus a big-headed fish is called a cabezon, I would guess.

  • John September 18, 2021 (5:33 pm)

    AKA – Giant Bullhead.  The bullhead minnows used to be common in the Salish Sea 50 years ago.  They have largely disappeared.

  • bolo September 18, 2021 (5:48 pm)

    To the question: “Ever seen one of these?”

    Yes believe I have, at the Pike Place Market fishmongers stall, they used to have one there prominently at the front, on ice. They had it tied to a rope behind the counter. When kids would get close to try to touch such an “ugly fish” the guy behind the counter would yank the rope and make the fish jump, and the kids scream. Good times!

    • mawnkfeesh September 18, 2021 (6:15 pm)

      that would have been a monkfish, quite yummy too despite how it looks.

  • J September 18, 2021 (8:19 pm)

    Nice find. Btw, does anyone know what this guy is? Saw it at constellation during one of the low lows in June. 

  • Mike Dey September 18, 2021 (10:29 pm)

    First guess is a ling cod. 

    • Graciano September 19, 2021 (9:51 am)

      The first part of Fish and Chips if its a Ling

  • GT September 19, 2021 (10:25 am)

    Fish n Chips on special this week only, as suppy lasts.

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