Also known as the daddy and Greenland sculpin, these sculpins are widely distributed in northern waters on both sides of the North Atlantic Ocean and in the arctic oceans. They occur round Greenland, Iceland, Spitsbergen, and in the Barents Sea off Novaya Zemlya, Siberia. From northern Europe they are distributed south to the Bay of Biscay. They can be found round Alaska, along the Arctic coast of Canada through to Hudson Bay and Baffin Island, and southward down the coast of Labrador, the Gulf of St Lawrence, off Newfoundland, throughout the Bay of Fundy, and around the coast of Nova Scotia.
The shorthorn sculpin is a sluggish benthic species usually found in cool, shallow waters over smooth and weedy bottoms, in depths to approximately 40 m. Shorthorns are often caught around wharves, where they search for food. When disturbed, the shorthorn moves slowly and for only a short distance, using the large pectoral fins to propel it through the water in a motion resembling flying.
Shorthorn sculpins are voracious feeders, eating crabs, shrimps, sea urchins, and other organisms. They may also eat herring, gobies, small cod, and marine worms. Sculpins almost 80 cm long have been reported, but this is very rare, and most fall within the 30-50cm size range.
The cycle of antifreeze production in the shorthorn sculpin is much like that in the winter flounder, another producer of Type I antifreeze protein in the north Atlantic. Antifreeze appears in the plasma in November, peak antifreeze levels are reached early in the year (Jan-Feb), remain high through the winter, and gradually decline to a minimum by August-September.
Hew,C.L., G.L.Fletcher, and V.S.Ananthanarayanan. 1980. Antifreeze proteins from the shorthorn sculpin, Myoxocephalus scorpius: isolation and characterization. Canadian Journal of Biochemistry. 58: 377-388.