Max Size: 5 cm (2 in.)
Habitat: Oyster reefs and rocky areas from New York to Brazil.
Diet: Amphipods, isopods, & other small crustaceans
- Skilletfish have modified ventral (pelvic) fins that form a “thoracic sucking disc” AKA suction cup which they use to cling to shells and rocks to effectively hide within reefs and avoid predators
- Named for their dorsal (top down) profile which resembles a skillet/frying pan
- While native to the Hudson, they had not been caught in NYC for nearly a century until 2011 when River Project staff found one in an oyster cage; they have been caught every year since and may be an indirect sign of more robust oyster populations in the NY/NJ Harbor area
Skilletfish may be small, but they are a big sign that conditions are improving in the Hudson River Estuary. They had not been caught in NYC for nearly a century until 2011 when @riverprojectnyc staff found one in an oyster cage. Experts believe skilletfish were absent due to the historic decimation of oyster populations in New York Harbor. Since then, skilletfish are regularly found in HRPK’s waters and may be an indirect sign of more robust oyster populations in the NY Harbor as they lay eggs in discarded oyster shells.