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Slimy Sculpin

Slimy Sculpin

NH Conservation Status: Not listed

 

State Rank: Secure

 

Scientific Name: Cottus cognatus

 

Distribution: Slimy sculpin are found throughout most of the Northeastern United States and much of Canada. Southern limits include Virginia and western waterbodies through the Great Lakes. They are common in suitable habitat throughout New Hampshire in all but the coastal watersheds.

 

Description: A broad, flat head is found on a body that ranges from brown to mottled black with a white underside. The dorsal fin is spotted with orange on breeding males. There are 7 to 10 spines in the first dorsal fin and 14 to 19 in the elongated second one. Most adult fish grow to two or three inches in length.

 

Species commonly confused with: Tesselated darter

 

Slimy Sculpin

The mottled coloration of the slimy sculpin makes it extremely difficult to see when it is not moving.

Habitat: Sculpin prefer clear, cool streams or the rocky bottoms of cold lakes and ponds. When laying motionless in this type of substrate, they can be very difficult to see.

 

Life History: Becomes sexually mature at 2 years and spawning occurs in the spring at 45 to 50 F. Males will select a nest site under the shelter of a rock or submerged log, branch or tree root. Females will suspend their adhesive eggs from this overhanging structure. Once fertilized, the male will defend the nest until after the eggs hatch in about 4 weeks.

 

Origin: Native

 

Conservation/Management: There are no specific conservation or management objectives for slimy sculpin. As with other cold water fish species, their range in New Hampshire may decrease over time due to climate change. One of the objectives of the Fish Conservation Program is to collect baseline fish community data for monitoring long term trends in the abundance and distribution of New Hampshire's freshwater fish species, which will reflect changes in aquatic habitat and water quality across the state.

 

Recommendations:

 

  • Continue to collect baseline data on the distribution and status of fallfish and other freshwater fish species throughout New Hampshire.
  • Set up stations for long term water temperature monitoring similar to the streamflow monitoring stations operated by the United States Geologic Survey (USGS)

 

Distribution Map: (under construction)