Behavior Observations

Repeated Use of Nest Sites by Cabezon

During a Number of regular lingcod census dives, Ken Collins observed a large cabezon guarding The Same Nest site for two years. The following are Ken's comments and photos. Copyright 2011 Ken Collins.

This large male cabezon is guarding a mass of eggs on the metal grate of a feature in the mid-central portion of the Edmonds Underwater Park. Based on photographic identification techniques, I know that this cabezon has guarded eggs in the exact same location for at least the last two years. The "N" shaped mark on the right cheek, between the eye and corner of the mouth, is unique to this fish A close up of the fish is about all I can catch when he's attacking. He will not hold still so I just shoot as he swims by.

Its a game we play!.

From many observations, I can guarantee that familiarity with a diver and camera in no way lessens this cabezon's aggressiveness when eggs are present. His aggressive behavior begins a week or two before the first eggs are laid at the nest site. The eggs shown below are from spring 2010. There are four distinct "clutches" or egg masses in the nest. At one point the eggs were almost thick enough to cover the tube worms.


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