No it's not a late April fool joke. The Dutch name of this fish is really 'Snotolf'. Perhaps better known as a Lumpsucker fish (Cyclopterus lumpus). During all my dives in Holland I never had the luck to encounter one. However this time other divers warned us of a Lumpsucker fish holding up at an artificial reef at the dive site 'Den Osse, Kerkweg'. This was our last change this year for a close encounter. So we went in search for the Snotolf.
This fish lives in arctic waters, till a depth of 400 meters. During winter time they come to shallower waters (in Holland) to spawn. To be more attractive to the ladies the male fish will get a reddish color. In fact the male is a really good father as he is the one taking care of the eggs for six weeks till they hatch. During this time he will guard them and when necessary will blow water over the eggs for oxygen. You can recognize the eggs because of the orange color. Usually the spawning seasons ends around the end of April. So this was one of our last opportunities this year to meet this fish.
After some searching we found our Snotolf hiding in one of the artificial reef balls. He just suddenly popped out in front of me. It was definitely a male, as you can see the reddish color. However, we didn't see any eggs, so probably it still didn't have a nest. It was a nice first encounter. The water was really clear with 8 meters visibility and our Snotolf didn't mind meeting us as well. Below you can see our visit for yourself with some around views of the artificial reef.