Every winter, male lingcod are tasked with the job of standing guard over their fertilized eggs. If left unguarded, the nest could be quickly decimated by predators such as rockfish, sculpin or kelp greenling.
SeaDoc Science Director Joe Gaydos recently went scuba diving off the coast of Edmonds, WA, where he and his dive partner happened upon a lingcod who was holding down the fort. As you can see in the video above, the lingcod quickly swam at Joe as he arrived. After that, the lingcod sent the same message to the other diver before returning to his post next to the eggs, where he'll largely remain until they hatch sometime in late winter or early spring. The newly hatched larvae will flow with ocean currents until they grow large enough to swim on their own. By summer they’ll settle into kelp or eelgrass beds.
- Lingcod are only found on the West Coast of North America, from Alaska down to Baja.
- They typically inhabit nearshore rocky reefs, but can go deeper as well.
- Female lingcod mature at 3-5 years of age, while males mature around age 2.
- Females produce more eggs as they grow older and larger.
- Seals, sea lions and human fisherman are all predators for lingcod.
- If a nest-protecting male is removed by a predator, the nest will also likely be lost in short order.
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