Family Cottidae



Selected Characters: Large head; fanlike pectoral fins; single lateral line present; suborbital stay present; no spines in anal fin.

This is a very large family with about 300 species. Most species are found in Arctic or temperate waters and are bottom dwellers. They typically occur in shallow or intertidal zones, though some species occur in deep ocean and others in fresh water. All species are oviparous; some have internal fertilization. Eggs are usually deposited among rocks and are guarded by the male while they develop. Most species have cryptic coloration (brown or green to blend in with silt and algae). Sculpins are generally small fishes of less than 30 cm. Our largest species is the Cabezon, which grows to a maximum of about 1 meter. The Cabezon may eat fishes, but smaller sculpins feed mainly on small invertebrates. All sculpins are important food sources for other fishes, though most cottids are too small to be palatable to humans. This is a common family in Puget Sound, with 35 species recorded here.

Puget Sound Species

Artedius corallinus Coralline Sculpin

Artedius fenestralis Padded Sculpin

Artedius harringtoni Scalyhead Sculpin

Artedius lateralis Smoothhead Sculpin

Artedius meanyi Puget Sound Sculpin

Artedius notospilotus Bonehead Sculpin

Ascelichthys rhodorus Rosylip Sculpin

Blepsias cirrhosus Silverspotted Sculpin

Chitonotus pugetensis Roughback Sculpin

Clinocottus acuticeps Sharpnose Sculpin

Clinocottus embryum Calico Sculpin

Clinocottus globiceps Mosshead Sculpin

Cottus aleuticus Coastrange Sculpin

Cottus asper Prickly Sculpin

Enophrys bison Buffalo Sculpin

Hemilepidotus hemilepidotus Red Irish Lord

Hemilepidotus spinosus Brown Irish Lord

Icelinus borealis Northern Sculpin

Icelinus burchami Dusky Sculpin

Icelinus filamentosus Threadfin Sculpin

Icelinus tenuis Spotfin Sculpin

Jordania zonope Longfin Sculpin

Leptocottus armatus Pacific Staghorn Sculpin

Myoxocephalus polyacanthocephalus Great Sculpin

Nautichthys oculofasciatus Sailfin Sculpin

Oligocottus maculosus Tidepool Sculpin

Oligocottus rimensis Saddleback Sculpin

Oligocottus snyderi Fluffy Sculpin

Radulinus asprellus Slim Sculpin

Radulinus boleoides Darter Sculpin

Radulinus taylori Spinynose Sculpin

Scorpaenichthys marmoratus Cabezon

Synchirus gilli Manacled Sculpin

Triglops macellus Roughspine Sculpin

Triglops pingeli Ribbed Sculpin