The manacled sculpin (Synchirus gilli) is one of the smaller sculpins, ranging in size up to 2.7 inches (7 cm) long. These tiny sculpins are seldom observed unless you look closely for them on algae blades and eelgrass and perhaps amongst barnacles on rocks and pilings (or the many hard features in the park). REEF surveyors have only reported them on one out of over 500 surveys - perhaps not because they are very rare but instead because they are so hard to find. This report is based on the one sighting within the EUWP by a REEF surveyor.
Most often found close to the bottom, they can be found near the surface on blades of bull kelp or other algae. Take a hard look at the bull kelp as you descend or as you surface in the park.
You can readily identify this species by its long pointed snout, prominent "goggle" eyes, slender body and pattern of white blotches on its back and sides. “Once Seen Never Forgotten.” The pattern of blotches may vary between individuals and with the substrates that the fish are found on. There is often a thin black stripe and thin white stripe leading back from the eye. The distinctness and length of these stripes can vary between individuals. Like many of the sculpins, this species is able to change its color to match the substrate that it is living on. See following photo for one such color variation.