By Renae C.
The Decorated Warbonnet is perhaps one of Puget Sound’s most bizarre residents. This unusual fish has distinctive brown and yellow markings, thick lips, big eyes, and odd bushy structures on the top of its head called cirri. Those lucky enough to glimpse this secretive fish will often see the cirri when the Warbonnet pokes its head out from the rock or sponge crevice it calls home.
So why do these fish have the strange cirri they’re named for? Scientists don’t know for certain. Perhaps Decorated Warbonnets use the cirri to better camouflage with their “mossy” neighbors. Another hypothesis is that the fish use them to attract and lure their prey (such as the small shrimp which make up part of their diet) closer.
One thing is for certain, though: the Decorated Warbonnet is one well-dressed Puget Sound fish.