Many scientific studies of tidepool sculpins living in tidepools have led to the opinion that this species is an obligate dweller of tidepools. Ironically, spawning is much more dense in protected areas without tidepools than on exposed headlands where pools are formed. Furthermore, tidepool sculpins are abundant in inlets where no tidepools occur, and they strand under rocks during low tides in areas without tidepools. Thus, the tidepool sculpin is a facultative inhabitant of tidepools where they occur, but does not require them to make a living.

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