Cottus carolinae

FamilyScientific NameAuthorYearCommon Name
CottidaeCottus carolinae(Gill)1861Banded Sculpin

Cottus carolinae

Unique Characters: Sharply defined lateral bars, darker on the edges. No large spots in dorsal fin or orange margin. Does not have a contrasting red-orange marginal and black basal band in the spinous dorsal fin. 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.

Similar Species:

Mottled Sculpin
Cottus bairdii

Blue Ridge Sculpin
Cottus caeruleomentum

Cottus bairdii
Mottled Sculpin – Cottus bairdii

Mottled Sculpin Cottus bairdii. 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 15 pectoral fin rays. Upper preopercular spine is simple and broadly pointed.

Blue Ridge Sculpin Cottus caeruleomentum. 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 only found in the Dan River system and is the only species of sculpin in the Dan River.

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