Greenling Eggs

In the fall we frequently see small clutches of fish eggs.  We typically see them laid inside empty giant barnacle shells, and sometimes even in the holes in the bricks we use in our clod card work.This egg mass is different for two reasons.  First, it’s not laid inside any protective shell or brick, and second, the developing fish can be seen inside their eggs – usually the eggs we see are either opaque or don’t have any clear differentiation inside them.


If you look close you can see eyes and even the coiled body of the embryos.

We think these are the eggs of a greenling, mostly because they don’t look like lingcod or red irish lord egg masses.  If they are greenling, they’re likely kelp greenling, the most common species of greenling.

Greenling are relatives of lingcod (note the “ling”).  However, greenling don’t get nearly as large as lingcod, and are much more active.  Greenling are commonly seen by divers, and even seem to follow us around on our dives.  Here are some photos of adults (not my photos):


This is a female.  Key characteristics to look for: gold fins and lots of small dark spots on a light background.


This is a male.  Note the blue-grey fins and few large light spots concentrated near the head on a dark background.

I remember the two genders with the color of their fins: boys are blue and girls are gold.

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