Smooth Lumpsuckers got offspring

Smooth Lumpsuckers got offspring

These entertaining little fishes are kept in many world’s aquariums, but there are no information about spawning in the aquariums’ environment.

Ekaterina Snitskaya, specialist of the Department of Far Eastern Seas hydrobionts of the Primorsky Aquarium said: “To get offspring in the Smooth Lumpsuckers in the aquarium’s environment is not only a unique case but a fortuitous combination of circumstances for us. Having a male among three fishes kept in the Scientific-and-adaptation building’s tank came as a surprise. We learnt about it just after the male had milted eggs shed by a female.”

Our ichthyologists made every effort to keep the development process on. Needless to say, the male lumpsucker contributed to that because its nature - for lumpsuckers, egg care is the father’s job. In the wild, the males prepare a nest in a bedrock crevice or a depression in the sea floor in the shallow waters. The females deposit eggs and return to their usual pelagic life after the spawning, and males using their strong sucker discs cling to the rock or other substrate next to their brood to defend the eggs and aerate them by waving water over them with their fins during 3-8 weeks.

Our male-parent performed his functions given by nature as it should, although there was no danger for the eggs such as fishes, sea urchins, and starfishes in the surroundings. The spawned-out female is in good condition and eats well.

Our female lumpsucker finished spawning in mid-April. The egg stage of development took a month and a half, the larval stage - 5-6 days. Within a week, tadpole-like larvae have grown up to 5 mm – now, we can see their tails with the naked eye. It has been understood that most of them will develop into the full-grown fishes.

The baby fishes eat well. They are fed with brine shrimps (Artemia salina), then their ration will be added with dry feed – our ichthyologists are now at work upon the diet for them. Our adult Smooth Lumpsuckers’ menu consists of fish, shrimps, and scallop.

The Lumpsuckers are a poorly studied group, with little known of their behaviour and biology. “We have found the only article by Japanese scientists who managed to hatch fry by experimenting with temperatures, but without growing them. We hope to fill a gap,” - Ekaterina Snitskaya said.

There are two adult Smooth Lumpsuckers in the Far Eastern Seas Exhibit in the Aquarium’s main building, as well. One of these fishes is a gift from a local fisherman.


  • Smooth Lumpsuckers is marine fish of the family Cyclopteridae distributed in the North Pacific: Pusan, Korea north (outside the Sea of Okhotsk) to Providence Bay in the Anadyr Gulf of the Bering Sea, throughout the Aleutian Basin and islands, and southeast to Mathieson Channel, British Columbia, Canada, over continental shelf and slope. Adult lumpsuckers are pelagic, migrating into rocky intertidal habitats to breed.
  • The Smooth Lumpsuckers have naked skin without scales and tubercles, brownish gray with dark spots. The fishes have ability to swallow water growing in size considerably and looking like a ball with tail.