Species accounts

Covers general descriptions focusing on single or multiple species (such as WDFW reports for species of concern, etc.).

RELATED ARTICLES

Ptilosarcus gurneyi (with a striped  nudibranch) off Whidbey Island, WA;  photo by Jan Kocian.
10/3/2017

The Orange Sea Pen

The Orange Sea Pen, also called the Fleshy Sea Pen or Gurney’s Sea Pen, resembles a colorful autumn tree waving in the “breeze” of moving water currents. Article courtesy of the Washington Department of Ecology's Eyes Under Puget Sound series. 

Sternaspis affinis
3/21/2016

The dumbbell worm

The genus Sternaspis is comprised of sedentary invertebrates with short and thick anterior setae. The dumbbell worm (Sternaspis affinis) can be found on the West Coast of North America, from Alaska to the Gulf of California.

British Columbian Doto
3/21/2016

Sea slugs: The British Columbian Doto

The Doto is a species of sea slug, also known as a nudibranch. It is a marine gastropod in the family Dotidae. This species was first discovered in British Columbia and has been reported as far south as Santa Barbara, California.

Cactus worm
3/19/2016

The cactus worm

Priapula are a small phylum of small, worm-like animals found in Puget Sound. They occur in most seas, both tropical and polar, at a variety of depths, from shallow coastal waters to as far down as 7,200 meters. 

Stylatula elongata
3/16/2016

The slender sea pen

Sea pens are marine cnidarians that belong to the order Pennatulacea. They are colonial organisms, composed of specialized polyps.

Figure 1. Tufted puffin (photo by Peter Hodum).
6/22/2015

Tufted Puffin (Fratercula cirrhata)

This article was originally published by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife as part of its status report on Tufted Puffins: Washington State Status Report for the Tufted Puffin (2015)

Harbor seal vocalizing on rock. Credit: G.E. Davis
6/23/2014

Harbor seal species profile

Harbor seals (Phoca vitulina) are the most commonly seen marine mammals in the Salish Sea and can be found throughout the region year round. They have been intensively studied within the Salish Sea and this species profile provides an overview of what is known about them. It was produced for the Encyclopedia of Puget Sound by the SeaDoc Society. 

Ribbon seal sighted on January 11th, 2012 a dock on the Duwamish River, Seattle, Washington (credit Matt Cleland)
12/19/2013

Ribbon seals in the Salish Sea?

Can Puget Sound claim a new species? Ribbon seals were not previously thought to venture into the Salish Sea, but a series of sightings in Puget Sound in 2012 expands their potential range. Scientists are keeping an eye out for future sightings. 

Gray whale (photo by Chris Johnson).
11/13/2013

Gray Whale (Eschrichtius robustus)

This article was originally published by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife as part of its annual report Threatened and Endangered Wildlife in Washington.

Common sharp-tailed snake (photo by Bill Leonard).
11/10/2013

Common Sharp-tailed Snake (Contia tenuis)

This article was originally published by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife as part of its annual report Threatened and Endangered Wildlife in Washington.

Oregon Vesper Sparrow (photo by Rod Gilbert).
11/10/2013

Oregon Vesper Sparrow (Pooecetes gramineus affinis)

This article was originally published by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife as part of its annual report Threatened and Endangered Wildlife in Washington.

. Slender-billed white-breasted nuthatch (photo by Rod Gilbert).
11/10/2013

Slender-billed White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis aculeata)

This article was originally published by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife as part of its annual report Threatened and Endangered Wildlife in Washington.

Loggerhead Shrike in Grant County, Washington (photo by Joe Higbee).
11/10/2013

Loggerhead Shrike (Lanius ludovicianus)

This article was originally published by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife as part of its annual report Threatened and Endangered Wildlife in Washington.

 

Black-backed woodpecker (photo by Joe Higbee).
11/10/2013

Black-backed Woodpecker (Picoides arcticus)

This article was originally published by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife as part of its annual report Threatened and Endangered Wildlife in Washington.

Male white-headed woodpecker in Yakima County (photo by Joe Higbee).
11/10/2013

White-headed Woodpecker (Picoides albolarvatus)

This article was originally published by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife as part of its annual report Threatened and Endangered Wildlife in Washington.

Vaux’s swift (photo by Curt Young).
11/10/2013

Vaux's Swift (Chaetura vauxi)

This article was originally published by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife as part of its annual report Threatened and Endangered Wildlife in Washington.

Flammulated owl (photo from Greg Lasley, USGS).
11/8/2013

Flammulated Owl (Otus flammeolus)

This article was originally published by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife as part of its annual report Threatened and Endangered Wildlife in Washington.

Figure 1. Yellow-billed cuckoo (© David Speiser, www.lilibirds.com).
11/8/2013

Yellow-billed Cuckoo (Coccyzus americanus)

This article was originally published by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife as part of its annual report Threatened and Endangered Wildlife in Washington.

Bald eagle at Blue Lake, Sinlahekin WLA (photo by Justin Haug).
11/8/2013

Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)

This article was originally published by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife as part of its annual report Threatened and Endangered Wildlife in Washington.

Littorina subrotundata. Photo by L. Schroeder.
10/23/2013

Newcomb's Littorine Snail (Littorina subrotundata)

This article was originally published by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife as part of its annual report Threatened and Endangered Wildlife in Washington.

Island marble perched on the host, field mustard (Brassica campestris). Photo by Thor Hansen.
10/23/2013

Island Marble (Euchloe ausonides insulanus)

This article was originally published by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife as part of its annual report Threatened and Endangered Wildlife in Washington.

Peregrine falcon. Photo by Brian Caven.
10/23/2013

Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus)

This article was originally published by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife as part of its annual report Threatened and Endangered Wildlife in Washington

Taylor's checkerspot. Photo by D. Stinson.
10/22/2013

Taylor's Checkerspot (Euphydryas editha taylori)

This article was originally published by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife as part of its annual report Threatened and Endangered Wildlife in Washington.

Streaked horned lark. Photo by Rod Gilbert.
10/22/2013

Streaked Horned Lark (Eremophila alpestris strigata)

This article was originally published by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife as part of its annual report Threatened and Endangered Wildlife in Washington.

Northern spotted owl in the Olympic Mountains. Photo by Rod Gilbert.
10/22/2013

Northern Spotted Owl (Strix occidentalis caurina)

This article was originally published by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife as part of its annual report Threatened and Endangered Wildlife in Washington.

Mardon skipper. Photo by Rod Gilbert.
10/16/2013

Mardon Skipper (Polites mardon)

This article was originally published by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife as part of its annual report Threatened and Endangered Wildlife in Washington.

Male and female Steller sea lions. Photo by Andrew Trites.
10/16/2013

Steller Sea Lion (Eumetopias jubatus)

This article was originally published by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife as part of its annual report Threatened and Endangered Wildlife in Washington.

Image copyright Merlin D. Tuttle, Bat Conservation International, www.batcon.org
7/6/2013

Yuma Myotis (Myotis yumanensis)

This article originally appeared in the State of Washington Bat Conservation Plan. Further information is available from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Image copyright Merlin D. Tuttle, Bat Conservation International, www.batcon.org
7/5/2013

Hoary Bat (Lasiurus cinereus)

This article originally appeared in the State of Washington Bat Conservation Plan. Further information is available from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Image copyright Merlin D. Tuttle, Bat Conservation International, www.batcon.org
7/5/2013

Big Brown Bat (Eptesicus fuscus)

This article originally appeared in the State of Washington Bat Conservation Plan. Further information is available from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Eelgrass bed. Photo: NOAA
3/26/2013

Eelgrass

Eelgrass (Zostera marina L.) is an aquatic flowering plant common in tidelands and shallow waters along much of Puget Sound’s shoreline. It is widely recognized for its important ecological functions, and provides habitat for many Puget Sound species such as herring, crab, shrimp, shellfish, waterfowl, and salmonids.

Pacific herring. Photo courtesy of NOAA.
3/23/2013

Marine forage fishes in Puget Sound

This is the executive summary from a technical report produced for the Puget Sound Nearshore Partnership on Valued Ecosystem Components (VEC). The entire document is included as a PDF with this summary.

Wolverine (Gulo gulo). Photo: Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
3/18/2013

Wolverine (Gulo gulo)

This article was originally published by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife as part of its annual report Threatened and Endangered Wildlife in Washington.

Figure 1. Olympic marmot. Photo by Rod Gilbert.
3/18/2013

Olympic Marmot (Marmota olympus)

This article was originally published by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife as part of its annual report Threatened and Endangered Wildlife in Washington.

Keen's myotis. Photo by Bat Conservation International.
3/18/2013

Keen's Myotis (Myotis keenii)

This article was originally published by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife as part of its annual report Threatened and Endangered Wildlife in Washington.

Townsend's big-eared bat. Photo by Bat Conservation International.
3/18/2013

Townsend's Big-eared Bat (Corynorhinus townsendii)

This article was originally published by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife as part of its annual report Threatened and Endangered Wildlife in Washington.

Golden eagle. Photo by Jim Watson.
3/16/2013

Golden Eagle (Aquila chryseatos)

This article was originally published by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife as part of its annual report Threatened and Endangered Wildlife in Washington.

Clark’s grebe, left, is similar to the western grebe, right, but has white around the eye and a brighter yellow bill (photos by Joe Higbee).
3/16/2013

Western and Clark's Grebes (Aechmophorus occidentalis and A. clarkia)

This article was originally published by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife as part of its annual report Threatened and Endangered Wildlife in Washington.

 

Figure 1. Adult female western pond turtle with an attached radio transmitter and identifying number for population monitoring. Photo by Melissa Reitz.
3/16/2013

Western Pond Turtle (Actinemys marmorata, formerly Clemmys marmorata)

This article was originally published by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife as part of its annual report Threatened and Endangered Wildlife in Washington.

Western gray squirrel. Photo by Joseph V. Higbee.
3/16/2013

Western Gray Squirrel (Sciurus griseus)

This article was originally published by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife as part of its annual report Threatened and Endangered Wildlife in Washington.

Upland sandpiper. Photo courtesy of Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
3/14/2013

Upland Sandpiper (Bartramia longicauda)

This article was originally published by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife as part of its annual report Threatened and Endangered Wildlife in Washington.

Figure 1. Sea otter (photo by USFWS).
3/14/2013

Sea Otter (Enhydra lutris)

This article was originally published by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife as part of its annual report Threatened and Endangered Wildlife in Washington.

 

 

Sandhill Crane. Photo by Joseph V. Higbee.
3/14/2013

Sandhill Crane (Grus canadensis)

This article was originally published by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife as part of its annual report Threatened and Endangered Wildlife in Washington.

Figure 1. Mazama pocket gopher. Photo by Bill Leonard.
3/14/2013

Mazama Pocket Gopher (Thomomys mazama)

This article was originally published by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife as part of its annual report Threatened and Endangered Wildlife in Washington.

Adult marbled murrelet in breeding plumage. Pacific Southwest Research Station, U.S. Forest Service.
3/14/2013

Marbled Murrelet (Brachyramphus marmoratus)

This article was originally published by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife as part of its annual report Threatened and Endangered Wildlife in Washington.

Larch mountain salamander. Photo courtesy of Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
3/14/2013

Larch Mountain Salamander (Plethodon larselli)

This article was originally published by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife as part of its annual report Threatened and Endangered Wildlife in Washington.

Grizzly bear. Photo courtesy of Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
3/14/2013

Grizzly Bear (Ursus arctos horribilis)

This article was originally published by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife as part of its annual report Threatened and Endangered Wildlife in Washington.

 

Members of the Teanaway pack, April 2011. Photo by U.S. Forest Service
3/14/2013

Gray Wolf (Canis lupus)

This article was originally published by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife as part of its annual report Threatened and Endangered Wildlife in Washington.

 

Fisher released on the Olympic Peninsula. Photo by Jessica Hoffman.
3/14/2013

Fisher (Pekania pennanti)

This article was originally published by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife as part of its annual report Threatened and Endangered Wildlife in Washington.

Adult male common loon and chick on North Twin Lake, Ferry County, Washington. Photo by Dan Poleschook.
3/14/2013

Common Loon (Gavia immer)

This article was originally published by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife as part of its annual report Threatened and Endangered Wildlife in Washington.

Brown pelican. Photo by D. Stinson.
3/13/2013

Brown Pelican (Pelecanus occidentalis)

This article was originally published by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife as part of its annual report Threatened and Endangered Wildlife in Washington.

American White Pelican, Grant County. Photo by Joe Higbee.
3/13/2013

American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos)

This article was originally published by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife as part of its annual report Threatened and Endangered Wildlife in Washington.

 

Female Oregon spotted frog (Rana pretiosa). Photo by Kelly McAllister.
3/9/2013

Oregon Spotted Frog (Rana pretiosa)

This article was originally published by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife as part of its annual report Threatened and Endangered Wildlife in Washington.

A scan of Eugene Kozloff's book "Marine Invertebrates of Puget Sound"
3/7/2013

Marine invertebrates of Puget Sound

The following is an alphabetical list of marine invertebrates occurring in Puget Sound and adjacent regions. It is taken from the book Keys to the Marine Invertebrates of Puget Sound, the San Juan Archipelago, and Adjacent Regions by Eugene N. Kozloff. This list is provided with permission of the author.

Northern Sea Otter. Photo: Alaska Department of Fish and Game
3/1/2013

Species of concern in the Salish Sea

The Encyclopedia of Puget Sound species library now includes a list of species of concern in the Salish Sea watershed. The list was created by Joe Gaydos and Nicholas Brown of the SeaDoc Society, and was released as a paper presented as part of the Proceedings of the 2011 Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference in Vancouver, BC.

Killer whale (Orcinus orca). Photo courtesy of NOAA.
12/11/2012

Killer whales in Puget Sound

Three distinct groups of killer whales (Orcinus orca) occupy the coastal waters of the northeastern Pacific. These groups—northern and southern residents, transients, and offshores—are distinguished by diet, behavior, morphology, and other characteristics. Among these, Southern Resident and transient killer whales commonly are found in Puget Sound. Northern residents and offshore killer whales rarely enter Puget Sound (Wiles 2004, Kriete 2007), and therefore are not described in detail here.

Harbor seal (Phoca vitulina). Photo by Peter Davis for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
12/11/2012

Harbor seals

Harbor seal numbers were severely reduced in Puget Sound during the first half of the twentieth century by a state-financed population control program. This bounty program ceased in 1960, and in 1972, harbor seals became protected under the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act and by Washington State.

Bald eagle (Haliaetus leucocephalus). Image courtesy U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
12/11/2012

Bald eagles

The Puget Sound region has the highest densities of bald eagles in Washington. Breeding pairs initiate nesting activities in January or February. 

Brandt's cormorant (Phalacrocorax penicillatus). Photo by Finley and Bohlman, courtesy U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
12/10/2012

Marine birds

More than 70 bird species regularly utilize Puget Sound during some or all stages of their life histories, but only a portion of these are actively being investigated.

Chum salmon (Oncorhynchus keta). Image courtesy U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
12/10/2012

Salmonids in Puget Sound

Fish in the family Salmonidae (salmon, trout, and charr) play potentially integral roles in the upland freshwater, nearshore and pelagic marine ecosystems and food webs of Puget Sound.

Brown rockfish (Sebastes auriculatus). Image courtesy of NOAA.
12/8/2012

Rockfish

Approximately 28 species of rockfish are reported from Puget Sound, spanning a range of life-history types, habitats, and ecological niches.

Pacific Hake (Merluccius productus). Image courtesy of NOAA.
12/8/2012

Bentho-pelagic fish in Puget Sound

Bentho-pelagic fish utilize both bottom habitats and shallower portions of the water column, often feeding in shallow water at night and moving to deeper water to form schools during the day.

Moon jellyfish (Aurelia aurita). Photo by Hans Hillewaert, courtesy of USGS.
12/8/2012

Jellyfish

Recent worldwide increases in the abundance of some jellyfish have been associated with human-caused disturbances to the environment such as eutrophication, overfishing and climate warming.

Dungeness crab (Cancer magister). Photo courtesy of NOAA.
12/8/2012

Dungeness crabs in Puget Sound

Dungeness crabs are an important resource in Puget Sound for recreational, commercial, and tribal fisheries. They utilize a variety of habitats over the course of their lives, and are vulnerable to shifts in ocean temperature and water quality.

Pinto abalone. Photo courtesy of Dave Cowles, Walla Walla University.
12/8/2012

Pinto Abalone in Puget Sound

Pinto abalone are the only abalone species found in Washington State.

Pacific Oyster (Crassostrea gigas). Photo by Don Rothaus, courtesy of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
12/8/2012

Bivalves in Puget Sound

Many types of bivalves, both native and non-native, flourish in Puget Sound. These species are a crucial part of the Puget Sound ecosystem and are also important for commercial fisheries.

Giant Pacific Octopus; Photo by Kip F. Evans
11/9/2012

Giant Pacific Octopus

GIANT PACIFIC OCTOPUS (Enteroctopus dofleini) is the largest species of octopus in the world. It is found in the northern Pacific Ocean from the northwest coast of the continental United States to Japan, including Puget Sound.

Pacific herring (Clupea pallasii). Image courtesy of NOAA.
9/14/2012

Forage fish in Puget Sound

Forage fish occupy every marine and estuarine nearshore habitat in Washington, and much of the intertidal and shallow subtidal areas of the Puget Sound Basin are used by these species for spawning habitat.

Interesection of NW GAP Hydrological Units and Puget Sound WRIAs
6/11/2012

Puget Sound terrestrial vertebrates

The Encyclopedia of Puget Sound, in cooperation with the USGS, has developed a list of terrestrial vertebrates occurring within the Puget Sound basin.

Adult female Rana aurora during fall migration of 2005 in Puget Sound (Hayes, Marc 2005).
5/29/2012

Red-legged frogs in the Puget Sound watershed

The Northern Red-legged Frog is described here relative to its local behavior, habitat, threats and morphology.