Have you ever seen a Pacific Sandfish (Trichodon trichodon)? They are found along our entire coastline, and bury in sandy substrates with only their head exposed. Like bass, Pacific Sandfish rapidly open their mouth and expand the gill chamber to engulf unsuspecting prey. The mouth is lined with a hair-like array of bristly small teeth to keep prey from escaping – the Latin name says it all: hair-teeth.
This Pacific Sandfish was caught in water about 49 meters depth, just west of Moresby Island, in BC’s Gulf Islands. The species is known from California to the Bering Sea, and west to Japan. They range from 375 meters depth to the intertidal zone, and you may disturb a Pacific Sandfish while wading in the shallows of a sandy beach.
This fish is the latest to be donated to the Royal BC Museum by Steven Roias from Archipelago Marine Research Ltd., here in Victoria, along with a Song Sparrow which awaits preparation into a study skin. Unusual specimens and first records for BC frequently are dropped off to the Royal BC Museum to confirm identification and preservation of the specimen. This fish now is being fixed and will later be preserved in Ethanol and added to the museum’s Ichthyology collection.
Hart, J.L. 1973. Pacific Fishes of Canada. Fisheries Research Board of Canada, Bulletin 180. Ottawa, Ontario. 740 p.
Lamb, A. & P. Edgell. Coastal Fishes of the Pacific Northwest, Harbour Publishing, Madeira Park, British Columbia. 335 p.
Mecklenburg, C.W., T. A. Mecklenburg, & L.K. Thorsteinson. 2002. Fishes of Alaska. American Fisheries Society, Bethesda, U.S.A. 1037 p.