Plainfin Midshipman

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Midshipmen are also called Singing fish because the males make a loud humming or grunting noise that can be heard quite a distance away. People describe it as a very strange sound unlike any other.

Midshipmen get their fancy name because of the rows of glowing organs that look like a midshipman’s uniform buttons. The fish uses these glowing organs (photopores) for attracting mates and/or prey, as well as confusing predators.

This fish buries itself or hides under rocks and in small pools during the day.  Look for a fairly large fish with a big head and prominent eyes on the top. If you find one, it is guarding eggs so leave it alone.  They do have teeth!

In spring, yellow bead-looking eggs are deposited under rocks.  The male guards them, so you might find a protective father under a rock.  When moving rocks, BE SURE to only move rocks that are the size of your head or smaller and RETURN the rock to the exact location where you found it, so you don’t harm marine creatures.

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Midshipman Female
Plainfin Midshipman

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For more reading and information about the Midshipman, Cortez Museum and Salute to the Midshipman