Next on Jonathan Bird’s Blue World, Jonathan is investigating a mean-looking fish! Hi, I’m Jonathan Bird and
welcome to my world! ( ♪ music ) One of my favorite places to
dive is Eastport, Maine. The
water is cold, but the bottom is covered in an incredible amount
of colorful marine life. Eastport is near the Canadian
border, at the mouth of the Bay
of Fundy. The huge tidal range in
Eastport means that the water
is almost always flowing one way or the other as the tide comes
in or goes out. The moving
water full of plankton feeds a ton of invertebrates, making
the bottom lush. It gives me plenty of things to
film on every dive. There is pink soft coral
feeding on the plankton. Anemones cling to everything,
even an old drain pipe. The lobsters reach epic
proportions! And fish thrive, like this
camouflaged Sea Raven, blending
in with the bottom. A shrimp rests on a sponge. And a whelk, a kind of large
snail, searches for a meal. Unfortunately, the whelk is
about to become dinner for my
favorite animal, the Atlantic Wolffish. Wolffish might have big teeth,
but these fish are no threat to
people. They like to eat whelks and crabs. Wolffish often get together in
pairs during the summer to lay
their eggs. They hang out in the same den under a rock. After the female lays around
10,000 eggs, the male kicks her
out and guards the eggs for several months until they
hatch. Here you can see the egg
mass behind the male, way inside his den. Over the years I have become
friendly with a wolffish I call
Gene. He can’t resist a whelk or two when I bring
them right to his front door.
It took me a couple of years to get him comfortable enough
with me to come all the way out
of his den. Even then, he’s pretty skittish. I’ve heard about Pacific
wolffish that are bigger and
friendlier, and I want to go
meet them, so I’ll have to travel
from Maine, all the way to
British Columbia. My journey takes me from
Eastport to Vancouver. Next I have to drive out to
Port Hardy, where my dive boat
awaits. Well, four hours to Port Hardy
on the beautiful roads of
Vancouver Island. In the drizzling rain, I board
the Mamro, my dive boat for the
week. Soon, under a clearing sky,
we’re underway. Captain Dan
drives the boat past gorgeous forest wilderness, on our way
to Clam Cove, where we will
anchor the boat for a few days in search of Pacific Wolfeels. Pacific wolfeel is the local
name for this impressive fish.
But it’s not an eel at all. It’s actually a fish, just
like the Atlantic wolffish, so
should be called a Pacific wolf fish. Whatever you want to call it, I
am going to find one. We depart
aboard the skiff for our first dive. I start suiting up in
anticipation. The water is 45
degrees, but my drysuit will
keep me warm. And now I’m ready! Voila! Ready
to dive…the cold Pacific
Northwest. My cold water dive gear is
bulky and cumbersome, but I’m
used to it. Lets go check it out! Descending through the kelp, I
find a world as rich in marine
life as Eastport, driven by similar tidal action and
nutrients. I swim over the edge of the
wall, to search for a Pacific
Wolfeel. There! Sticking just its head
out from its den, a fully-grown
male Wolfeel stares at my camera. Nearby, a younger one, with
darker coloration, also curious
what I’m up to, but not about to come out. Both have prominent teeth, just
like the Atlantic Wolffish, but
they appear just as docile. Soon, I turn back to observe
the big male, and he starts
coming right at me! He’s coming out of his den. He’s a lot
longer than an Atlantic
Wolffish. I’m not sure what he’s up to. He comes up to closely
investigate my lens. Maybe he
sees his reflection. He lets me hold him in my hand.
They told me the Pacific ones
were friendly, but this is incredible! I’m beginning to
think maybe this fish has been
fed quite a bit, and he’s looking for a handout. But I
didn’t bring him any food! He tries my arm to see how it
tastes, but dry suits
apparently aren’t very good
eating. Before long, he gets the idea
that I haven’t got anything to
eat, so he goes over to see my dive buddy Tim, who just
happens to have brought a snack. Now I would have bet that there
is no way a Wolfeel would eat a
sausage. But as it turns out, they love sausages. Who’da
thunk? After he got his snack, the
wolfeel heads back to his den,
and then I could see why they call them wolfeels. This
fish has a body 6 feet long and
it’s more eel-like than fish. So why do we call the Atlantic
ones fish and the Pacific ones
eels? Good question, but they are both fish, and
probably one of the most
interesting fish to interact
with in the entire world. No matter
what you call them, they’re
cool! ( ♪ music )

61 thoughts on “Wolffish & Wolf Eels | JONATHAN BIRD’S BLUE WORLD

  1. Correct me if I'm wrong but don't male and female wolf eels mate for life? And another thing don't they stay in the same Den until the eggs hatch? I even feel like I remember hearing that one goes out and Huntsville the other stays inside and guards the eggs and when the first one gets back the second one will go out and hunt.

  2. curious why you never use a twin hose in cold water diving. i thought they are the best choice for diving in cold water

  3. Its just wild to me that people were never meant to see all of this amazing stuff and many never had the opportunity to in recent history.

  4. the smaller wolf fish seems to have a end tail, where the ell one does not, and is more ell length, as the fish one is stumpyier and has that fin on its rear.

  5. This is awesome. I live on Haida Gwaii, north of where you were, and I've just gotten into free diving, saw my first wolf eel last week but I was too freaked out to get close. Got a childhood fear of them ever since I found a dead one washed up. Nice to know they're friendly! Maybe I'll offer some crab or urchin next time!

  6. Jonathan, I admire you, because you can dive into the ocean, and you think that protect the shark to keep our ecosystem balance, so I don't eat shark fin soup anymore

  7. I also heard that they like warmth and slight changes in water temp, which means they like coming up to you since you generate heat

  8. This is the best petting I've ever seen in my entire life. Hey looks bro my dog is very kind, my snake just fine, my tiger so calm and he love petting. J. Bird ' wait and see my pets'. Does he naissss? ?

  9. Fact that I recently learned and wanted to bring here: The Pacific Wolfeel are very affectionate to humans for one particular reason, warmth. You could literally swim to a wild wolfeel and it will approach you, before snuggling up to you just to be warm.

  10. They transparent teeth ,the only teeth i had ever seen yet that looks like a rice..one thing: sometimes i heard you pronounce as wolffields n sometimes wolfeels or wolffish..???

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