Cottus asper - Richardson, 1836
Prickly Sculpin
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Cottus asper Richardson, 1836 (TSN 167233)
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.104049
Element Code: AFC4E02020
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Fishes - Bony Fishes - Other Bony Fishes
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Actinopterygii Scorpaeniformes Cottidae Cottus
Genus Size: D - Medium to large genus (21+ species)
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Robins, C.R., R.M. Bailey, C.E. Bond, J.R. Brooker, E.A. Lachner, R.N. Lea, and W.B. Scott. 1991. Common and scientific names of fishes from the United States and Canada. American Fisheries Society, Special Publication 20. 183 pp.
Concept Reference Code: B91ROB01NAUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Cottus asper
Taxonomic Comments: Early nomenclatural history confusing. Two forms, a sparsely prickled coastal form and heavily prickled inland form, have been recognized and may be genetically distinct (Lee et al. 1980). Formerly included in the order Perciformes; the 1991 AFS checklist (Robins et al. 1991) followed Nelson (1984) in recognizing the order Scorpaeniformes as distinct from the Perciformes.
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 22Sep2015
Global Status Last Changed: 25Sep1996
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by inspection
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Nation: United States
National Status: N5 (05Dec1996)
Nation: Canada
National Status: N5 (22Dec2017)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Alaska (S5), California (SNR), Oregon (S4), Washington (S5)
Canada Alberta (SU), British Columbia (S5)

Other Statuses

IUCN Red List Category: LC - Least concern

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: Range encompasses Pacific Slope drainages of North America from Ventura River, California, to the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska; east of the Continental Divide, this sculpin occurs in the upper Peace River (Arctic basin), British Columbia; it occurs on Queen Charlotte and Vancouver islands (Lee et al. 1980, Page and Burr 2011).

Number of Occurrences: 81 - 300
Number of Occurrences Comments: This species is represented by a large number of occurrences (subpopulations).

Population Size: 100,000 to >1,000,000 individuals
Population Size Comments: Total adult population size is unknown but apparently quite large. This sculpin is common; locally abundant (Page and Burr 1991).

Overall Threat Impact Comments: No major threats are known. Locally, some populations likely have been eliminated or reduced as a result of barriers constructed across streams (Moyle 2002).

Short-term Trend: Relatively Stable (<=10% change)
Short-term Trend Comments: Trend over the past 10 years or three generations is uncertain but likely relatively stable.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: Range encompasses Pacific Slope drainages of North America from Ventura River, California, to the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska; east of the Continental Divide, this sculpin occurs in the upper Peace River (Arctic basin), British Columbia; it occurs on Queen Charlotte and Vancouver islands (Lee et al. 1980, Page and Burr 2011).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
Endemism: occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AK, CA, OR, WA
Canada AB, BC

Range Map
No map available.

U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
17 Franklin D. Roosevelt Lake (17020001), Okanogan (17020006), Upper Columbia-Entiat (17020010), Wenatchee (17020011), Moses Coulee (17020012), Banks Lake (17020014), Lower Crab (17020015), Middle Snake-Payette (17050115), Lower Malheur (17050117), Brownlee Reservoir (17050201), Burnt (17050202), Powder (17050203), Hells Canyon (17060101), Imnaha (17060102), Lower Snake-Asotin (17060103), Lower Grande Ronde (17060106), Middle Columbia-Lake Wallula (17070101), Walla Walla (17070102), Umatilla (17070103), Willow (17070104), Middle Columbia-Hood (17070105), Lower John Day (17070204), Lower Deschutes (17070306), Lower Columbia-Sandy (17080001), Lewis (17080002), Lower Columbia-Clatskanie (17080003), Lower Columbia (17080006), Middle Fork Willamette (17090001), Coast Fork Willamette (17090002), Upper Willamette (17090003), Mckenzie (17090004), North Santiam (17090005), South Santiam (17090006), Middle Willamette (17090007), Yamhill (17090008), Molalla-Pudding (17090009), Tualatin (17090010), Clackamas (17090011), Lower Willamette (17090012), Hoh-Quillayute (17100101), Queets-Quinault (17100102), Upper Chehalis (17100103), Lower Chehalis (17100104), Grays Harbor (17100105), Willapa Bay (17100106), Necanicum (17100201), Nehalem (17100202), Wilson-Trusk-Nestuccu (17100203), Siletz-Yaquina (17100204), Alsea (17100205), Siuslaw (17100206), Siltcoos (17100207), Umpqua (17100303), Coos (17100304), Coquille (17100305), Sixes (17100306), Chetco (17100312), Fraser (17110001), Strait of Georgia (17110002), Nooksack (17110004), Lower Skagit (17110007), Stillaguamish (17110008), Skykomish (17110009), Snoqualmie (17110010), Snohomish (17110011), Lake Washington (17110012), Duwamish (17110013), Puyallup (17110014), Nisqually (17110015), Deschutes (17110016), Skokomish (17110017), Hood Canal (17110018), Puget Sound (17110019), Dungeness-Elwha (17110020), Crescent-Hoko (17110021)
18 Smith (18010101), Mad-Redwood (18010102), Lower Eel (18010105), South Fork Eel (18010106), Mattole (18010107), Big-Navarro-Garcia (18010108), Gualala-Salmon (18010109), Russian (18010110), Bodega Bay (18010111), Lower Klamath (18010209), Trinity (18010211), South Fork Trinity (18010212), Lower Cottonwood (18020102), Sacramento-Lower Thomes (18020103), Sacramento-Stone Corral (18020104), Lower Butte (18020105), Lower Feather (18020106), Lower Bear (18020108), Lower Sacramento (18020109), Lower Cache (18020110), Lower American (18020111), Upper Cache (18020116), Upper Putah (18020117), Mill-Big Chico (18020119), Upper Kaweah (18030007), Tulare-Buena Vista Lakes (18030012), Middle San Joaquin-Lower (18040001), Middle San Joaquin-Lower (18040002), San Joaquin Delta (18040003), Lower Calaveras-Mormon Slough (18040004), Lower Cosumnes-Lower Mokelumne (18040005), Upper San Joaquin (18040006), Upper Chowchilla-Upper Fresno (18040007), Upper Merced (18040008), Upper Tuolumne (18040009), Upper Stanislaus (18040010), Panoche-San Luis Reservoir (18040014), Suisun Bay (18050001), San Pablo Bay (18050002), Coyote (18050003), San Francisco Bay (18050004), Tomales-Drake Bays (18050005), San Francisco Coastal South (18050006), San Lorenzo-Soquel (18060001), Pajaro (18060002), Salinas (18060005), Central Coastal (18060006), Santa Maria (18060008), San Antonio (18060009), Santa Ynez (18060010), Alisal-Elkhorn Sloughs (18060011), Carmel (18060012), Santa Barbara Coastal (18060013), Ventura (18070101), Santa Clara (18070102), Calleguas (18070103), Santa Monica Bay (18070104), Los Angeles (18070105), San Gabriel (18070106), Santa Ana (18070203)
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed (based on multiple information sources) Help
Ecology & Life History
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Reproduction Comments: Matures in 2nd-4th year. Spawning may occur late February-June; most spawning in California probably occurs March-April. Female deposits 280- 11,000 eggs depending on her size and age (Moyle 1976). Male may spawn with more than one female.
Ecology Comments: Abundant where found (Moyle 1976).
Habitat Type: Freshwater
Non-Migrant: N
Locally Migrant: Y
Long Distance Migrant: N
Mobility and Migration Comments: Downstream migration of adults and upstream migration of young-of-the-year sculpins is typical of many (but not all) populations (Moyle 1976).
Estuarine Habitat(s): River mouth/tidal river
Riverine Habitat(s): CREEK, High gradient, Low gradient, MEDIUM RIVER, Moderate gradient
Lacustrine Habitat(s): Deep water, Shallow water
Special Habitat Factors: Benthic
Habitat Comments: Habitat includes coastal and inland streams and sandy and rocky shores of lakes. Typically this sculpin inhabits pools and waters of slight current in small to medium rivers and is often on bottoms of fine materials, predominantly sand (Lee et al. 1980). It also occurs in tidewater areas; it can tolerate brackish water (tidepools, estuaries). Spawning occurs in freshwater or intertidal zones that contain flat rocks and moderate current. Males prepare nests under rocks, logs, cans, car bodies, or other debris. Larvae are pelagic for 30-35 days.
Adult Food Habits: Invertivore, Piscivore
Immature Food Habits: Invertivore, Piscivore
Food Comments: Feeds mainly on aquatic insects, their larvae, and other large benthic invertebrates. Larger sculpins (> 70 mm SL) often eat fishes.
Adult Phenology: Nocturnal
Immature Phenology: Nocturnal
Phenology Comments: Typically hides under submerged objects during the day, emerges and feeds actively at night. Moves to deeper water during the winter and lives under cover of rocks and other debris (Wydoski and Whitney 1979)
Length: 9 centimeters
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Delineation
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Group Name: Freshwater Sculpins

Use Class: Not applicable
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Occurrences are based on evidence of historical presence, or current and likely recurring presence, at a given location. Such evidence minimally includes collection or reliable observation and documentation of one or more individuals (including eggs and larvae) in appropriate habitat.
Separation Barriers: Dam lacking a suitable fishway; high waterfall; upland habitat.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Justification: Data on dispersal and other movements generally are not available. Separation distances (in aquatic kilometers) are arbitrary. Separation distance reflects the likely low probability that two occupied locations separated by less than several kilometers of aquatic habitat would represent truly independent populations over the long term.

Because of the difficulty in defining suitable versus unsuitable habitat, especially with respect to dispersal, and to simplify the delineation of occurrences, a single separation distance is used regardless of habitat quality.

Date: 21Sep2004
Author: Hammerson, G.
Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 04Apr2012
NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Author: Hammerson, G.
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 08Nov2011
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Hammerson, G.

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
Help
  • Koster, W. J. 1936. The life history and ecology of the sculpins (Cottidae) in central New York. Ph.D. thesis, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York

  • Koster, W. J. 1937. The food of the sculpin (Cottidae) in central New York. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society. 66:374-382.

  • Lee, D. S., C. R. Gilbert, C. H. Hocutt, R. E. Jenkins, D. E. McAllister, and J. R. Stauffer, Jr. 1980. Atlas of North American freshwater fishes. North Carolina State Museum of Natural History, Raleigh, North Carolina. i-x + 854 pp.

  • Morrow, J.E. 1980. The freshwater fishes of Alaska. Alaska Northwest Publishing Company, Anchorage, AK. 248 pp.

  • Moyle, P. B. 1976a. Inland fishes of California. University of California Press, Berkeley, California. 405 pp.

  • Moyle, P. B. 2002. Inland fishes of California. Revised and expanded. University of California Press, Berkeley. xv + 502 pp.

  • Nelson, J. S. 1984. Fishes of the world. Second edition. John Wiley & Sons, New York. xv + 523 pp.

  • Nelson, J. S., E. J. Crossman, H. Espinosa-Perez, L. T. Findley, C. R. Gilbert, R. N. Lea, and J. D. Williams. 2004. Common and scientific names of fishes from the United States, Canada, and Mexico. American Fisheries Society, Special Publication 29, Bethesda, Maryland. 386 pp.

  • Page, L. M., H. Espinosa-Pérez, L. T. Findley, C. R. Gilbert, R. N. Lea, N. E. Mandrak, R. L. Mayden, and J. S. Nelson. 2013. Common and scientific names of fishes from the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Seventh edition. American Fisheries Society, Special Publication 34, Bethesda, Maryland.

  • Page, L. M., and B. M. Burr. 1991. A field guide to freshwater fishes: North America north of Mexico. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, Massachusetts. 432 pp.

  • Page, L. M., and B. M. Burr. 2011. Peterson field guide to freshwater fishes of North America north of Mexico. Second edition. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Boston. xix + 663 pp.

  • Robins, C.R., R.M. Bailey, C.E. Bond, J.R. Brooker, E.A. Lachner, R.N. Lea, and W.B. Scott. 1991. Common and scientific names of fishes from the United States and Canada. American Fisheries Society, Special Publication 20. 183 pp.

  • Scott, W. B., and E. J. Crossman. 1973. Freshwater fishes of Canada. Fisheries Research Board of Canada, Bulletin 184. 966 pp.

  • Wydoski, R. S., and R. R. Whitney. 1979. Inland fishes of Washington. The University of Washington Press, Seattle. 220 pp.

References for Watershed Distribution Map
  • Master, L. L. 1996. Synoptic national assessment of comparative risks to biological diversity and landscape types: species distributions. Summary Progress Report submitted to Environmental Protection Agency. The Nature Conservancy, Arlington, Virginia. 60 pp.

  • Master, L. L. and A. L. Stock. 1998. Synoptic national assessment of comparative risks to biological diversity and landscape types: species distributions. Summary Report submitted to Environmental Protection Agency. The Nature Conservancy, Arlington, VA. 36 pp.

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