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Slimy Sculpin (Cottus cognatus)

The Slimy Sculpin or Cottus cognatus is a freshwater fish that is normally found near the bottoms of lakes in the northern United States, Canada and places in Alaska. This species of Sculpin is one of the over 300 different species of Sculpin in the world. They are not a very large fish, only growing to about 3" in length. Like a lot of Deep Sea Fish, their eyes are located at the top of its head. This way it can always keep an eye on what is going on above it towards the surface . This fish can be identified by its upper lip that is longer than its lower lip, and the fact that it has two dorsal fins. This fish doesn't have any scales and is very hard to see in the depths. Its dark coloration blends in quite well with the murky bottom.

If you get the chance to see the Slimy Sculpin underwater you will notice that it looks more like it is bouncing on the bottom than actually swimming. This is because the Slimy Sculpin doesn't have a swim bladder. This characteristic makes the Slimy Sculpin an easy target for predators. This species of fish will normally eat insects, crustaceans, fish eggs, and smaller fish.During the spawning season the Slimy Sculpin will move into shallower waters and the males will normally turn even darker in coloration, almost black. Spawning will normally occur in Spring after the ice breaks up. The male Slimy Sculpin will build a nest under a rock or in a log by using its tail and mouth to move around sand and small rocks. Once the male courts a partner, the female will actually deposit her eggs upside down. One male can mate with several females over the course of the spawning season. After about 30 days the eggs will hatch, all of this time the male spends guarding the eggs. He will continue to do so until the fry are big enough to go out on their own.  You can check out a Sculpin migration in the video below.

Slimy Sculpin can reach sexual maturity at about 2 years. This fish is not very long lived only lasting to about 5 years old. If you have any more information about the Slimy Sculpin that you would like to share please leave us a fishy comment below...

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