What the Heck is a Lumpsucker?


     There’s a new addition to the array of sea creatures in the aquarium at Homer’s Pratt Museum but this one is just not your average fish.  Standing in front of one of the tanks, there appears to be a grey rock stuck to the back wall of the tank.

     Ryjil Christianson, Education Specialist for the Pratt, says no—it’s their newest acquisition, which they got courtesy of a local fisherman on August 29th.  

     “We got a call from Robb on the Sea Prince and he had caught two smooth lumpsuckers in his seine gear.”  

     He put both lumpsuckers into a bucket of seawater and taking them to the Pratt.  Only one survived, but is doing very well says Christianson.

     The lumpsucker normally lurks in deep waters and has a modified fin that creates a disc-like suction cup so it can stick to rocks on the bottom, or in this case, on the side of the tank.  

     She says it’s rather sluggish, and just hangs out most of the time, but it makes people laugh.

     “When it first came in a lot of the people who work here at the Pratt would just come over to the tank, sit down, and just start giggling because it was something they’d never seen before.”

     Christianson leads fish feeding sessions at the museum, but she takes special pride in feeding this one herself. She peels a shrimp, sticks a small piece of it on the sharp end of a stick which she gently lowers down into the tank waving it by the fish’s mouth, which she clearly admires.  

     “You can see that smooth look to its skin, slightly wrinkled," she said. "It’s a tannish grey with two big bulging eyes on its side and a nice looking mouth.”

     The Pratt’s prized lumpsucker can be seen in the museum’s aquarium.  Winter hours are Tuesday through Saturday noon to 5 pm.