Cottus bairdii

Cottus bairdii
Mottled Sculpin – Cottus bairdii
FamilyScientific NameAuthorYearCommon Name
CottideCottus bairdiiGirard1850Mottled Sculpin

Cottus bairdii

Unique Characters: Black spots on first dorsal fin. Male first dorsal fin has a black base with an orange edge. Bars on the sides are not sharply defined. Modally 15 pectoral fin rays. Upper preopercular spine is simple and broadly pointed.

Similar Species:

Banded Sculpin
Cottus carolinae

Blue Ridge Sculpin
Cottus caeruleomentum

Cottus caeruleomentum
Blueridge Sculpin – Cottus caeruleomentum

Banded Sculpin Cottus carolinae. Sharply defined lateral bars, darker on the edges. No large spots in dorsal fin or orange margin. Modally 16 or 17 pectoral fin rays. Upper preopercular spine is prominent and “sickle” shaped. Currently restricted to northeastern Haywood and northern Madison counties near Tennessee state line.

Blue Ridge Sculpin Cottus caeruleomentum. Virtually identical to the Mottled Sculpin. Black spots on first dorsal fin. Male first dorsal fin has a black base with an orange edge. Bars on the sides are not sharply defined. Usually 14 pectoral fin rays. Caudal base band unnotched in at least one side. In North Carolina it is restricted to the Dan River system where it is is the only species of sculpin.

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