The fish known as the Red Irish Lord (Hemilepidotus hemilepidiotus) is a large sculpin (family Cottidae). Like most sculpins, Red Irish Lords are only partially scaled. In the case of Irish Lords group (Hemilepidotus species) there is a band of scales on the back and a second band below the lateral line. In H. hemilepidotus, the back band is 4 to 5 scale rows wide (with much smaller scales above); the band below the lateral line is around 10 scale rows wide. Red Irish Lords are reddish, with brown, white, and black mottling above; whitish below. There are usually four dark saddles on the back. Maximumum length is around 50 cm, but fish over 30 cm are rare.
The Red Irish Lord ranges from the Bering Sea (Russia) south to Monterey Bay (California, U.S.A.) (this species is common in Alaska, but rare in California). It is found near shore in rocky areas from the intertidal zone to around 50 m. This is the most common Hemilepidotus species and is often caught on baited hooks; it is reportedly good eating.
These colorful fish lay their egg masses in intertidal areas during the spring. Adults feed on crabs, barnacles, and mussels. This edible sculpin is not frequently caught by anglers.
(Boschung et al. 1983; Eschmeyer and Herald 1983)
- Boschung, H.T., Jr., Williams, J.D., Gotshall, D.W., Caldwell, D.K., and M.C. Caldwell. 1983. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Fishes, Whales, and Dolphins. Alfred A, Knopf, New York.
- Eschmeyer, W.N. and E.S. Herald. 1983. A Field Guide to Pacific Coast Fishes of North America. Houghton Mifflin, Boston.