Little fish, long snout

Tubesnouts are small, scale-less fish related to sticklebacks and seahorses. They are light brown and green in color, with translucent fins, dorsal spines, bony scutes (external plates) and a long snout. Tubesnouts live along the Pacific coast of North America, from northern Mexico to Alaska, and can be found around aquatic plants such as giant kelp and eelgrass, as well as over rocky and sandy areas.

Sticking together
Tubesnouts frequently swim in large, dense schools. These schools can consist of thousands of tubesnouts, and are often located near the water's surface, where tubesnouts tend to stay. Juvenile tubesnouts usually don't swim over 40 feet below the surface, but adult tubesnouts have been observed at depths up to 100 feet.
Nests in the sea
Tubesnouts commonly make nests in growths of giant kelp. Males secrete strands of a substance that binds the kelp together to create a nest. Females then lay their eggs on the kelp’s stipes (similar to stems), above where a male has made a nest. The eggs adhere to each other in clusters of up to 10 eggs, and are then fertilized by a male. Tubesnouts also make nests in eelgrass, bull kelp, or on coralline algae.
On guard!
Male tubesnouts are highly territorial, and guard egg clusters for up to three weeks, until the eggs have hatched. To defend the eggs, male tubesnouts dart aggressively toward potential threats. Once hatched, tubesnout larvae are only about one third of an inch long, and reach full maturity within a year.
Small fish, small prey
Being smaller fish, tubesnouts eat planktonic crustaceans, such as crab larvae, as well as the larvae of other fish. Tubesnouts are preyed upon by fish larger than themselves, including sculpins and rockfish.
Are tubesnouts threatened?
Tubesnouts are not considered threatened. However, if kelp forests are damaged or destroyed, this would adversely affect the tubesnout population, as well as many other organisms that dwell among kelp. And, like all living creatures, tubesnouts need a healthy environment to thrive. Keeping pollution out of Puget Sound and the ocean will help ensure their abundance for generations to come.


 Tubesnout range

Quick Facts

Diet: Carnivorous
Size: Up to 7 ½ inches