The Rockweed Gunnel (Apodichthys fucorum)
The rockweed gunnel is a strange-looking fish that seems as if it should not even be labeled as one. But its odd appearance is just one of the many things that makes this otherwise scarcely-known fish interesting. Let's dive into the facts and find out more!
Physical Description and Behavior
The Rockweed Gunnel is a translucent fish that can be bright green to a more rusty red color. Their coloration is related to their immediate environment. If they are found in green-colored seaweed, they will be green. If the seaweed is reddish-brown, they will be reddish-brown.
It has a long, thin, sleek body, resembling that of a snake as opposed to the fish we all tend to think of. Their bodies can grow up to 23 cm (9 inches) long. While they do have small fins, these fins are about the diameter of their eye and are too small for appropriate swimming. Their anal spine is 2/5ths the length of the head and is very sharp and angular.
Fun fact: Despite being aquatic animals and not having any large fins or legs, they can survive outside of water due to their ability to breathe air. However, they can only survive up to 20 hours outside of water if left moist, otherwise, they will dry out.
They survive by eating small crustaceans and mollusks. Other than this, there is not much evidence at all for what this species eats, let alone any information about their reproduction.
Habitat and Location
Rockweed Gunnel is mainly found on the west coast of the United States and Canada. They are usually seen in the summer months.
These fish can be found at the bottom of the seabed and in intertidal zones of the ocean. They can be found up to 9 meters deep. They often wash ashore when the tide falls, along with whatever seaweed exists in that habitat. According to the Proceedings from the National Museum in 1880: "Sometimes a dozen of them can be shaken from a bunch of algae attached to a dry rock." Which is fascinating to envision. They apparently wriggle around on the moist land, according to this same document.
To see some of their neighbor species, the Pinpoint Gunnel, in action, check out this video below!