Iowa DNR
River & Stream Biological Monitoring
Fish and Benthic Macroinvertebrate Surveys
Physical Habitat Assessments

Slimy Sculpin Cottus cognatus

Cottidae (Sculpins)
Trophic Class
Benthic Invertivore
Is Exotic to Iowa?
Is Lithophilous Spawner?
Is Hybrid?
State Listing Status
Not Listed
Assessment Program Statistics

This species was found at 17 bioassessment sites, 0 rapid fish bioassessment sites, 8 fisheries assessment sites, and 8 fisheries presence-only assessment sites. In total, it was collected at 31 distinct sites, or 2.1% of the 1442 total sites monitored by the bioassessment program. It is the 77th most commonly collected species.

The Slimy Sculpin was collected in 48 bioassessment sampling sessions and 13 fisheries assessment sessions. It was present in 0 rapid bioassessment sessions and 8 presence-only sessions.

The biological assessment program has collected a total of 15,002 individual Slimy Sculpin specimens, ranking it the #22 most collected fish.

Species Characteristics

The head and anterior body are flattened dorso-ventrally with the posterior body and caudal peduncle compressed laterally. The mouth is terminal with numerous teeth in narrow bands on the upper and lower jaws. The head, back and sides are olive-brown with dark mottling. The lower region of the head and belly are lighter to whitish. It has two-lobed, narrowly-connected dorsal fins. The frontal dorsal fin has 7 to 9 soft spines and the second lobe has 16 to 18 rays. The anal fin has 11 to 13 rays; the pelvic fins are thoracic with a single spine and 3 pelvic rays. The pectoral fin has 13 to 14 rays. Scales are absent and the lateral line is incomplete, ending under the second dorsal fin. Fish rarely exceed 4-inches long.

Species Distribution Maps

HUC12 watersheds where this species has been found