Eastslope Sculpin

Eastslope Sculpin
Latin Name

Cottus bairdii

Group Name

Freshwater

Taxonomy details

Habitat

The Eastslope Sculpin has a very limited distribution, found only in the Milk and St. Mary rivers in Alberta, Montana and Wyoming (upper Missouri River system), and in the Flathead River in British Columbia. The Milk River population is widely distributed throughout most of the North Milk River and Milk mainstem, with the exception of the lowermost section close to the international border, where it is absent. The St. Mary population occurs throughout the entire section of the St. Mary River above the St. Mary Reservoir to the international border. The Eastslope Sculpin is found in cool, clear streams with shallow runs and riffles, rock, gravel or cobble substrate, and little to no current. They are usually absent from pools with bottoms of clay or sand. They are nocturnal and remain under cover during the day.

Species Description

The Eastslope Sculpin is a small, freshwater sculpin that has only recently been designated as a new species. Its name is, therefore, provisional until a formal scientific description is made. The Eastslope Sculpin has a large head and its body is heavy and tapers from the head to the tail. They have no swim bladder and their dorsal and pelvic fins have protective spines. The maximum fork length is 114 mm (Milk River), and their longevity is likely less than five years.