NANFA-- Oregon sculpins

Dave Neely (
Wed, 04 Jun 2003 16:51:02 -0500


Mill Creek, a trib to the Willamette via the Yamhill River, flows through
Stewart Grenfell Park. There's at least four species of sculpins in that
general vicinity, including Cottus asper, Cottus beldingii, Cottus
perplexus, and Cottus rhotheus. There's a form of Cottus bairdii in the
upper Willamette, and another weird thing in Gales Creek, but neither are in
the Yamhill... and they don't look anything like published photos of
"bairdii." The four species in your area are actually relatively easy to
tell apart... with a bit of practice.

Cottus rhotheus has a really narrow caudal peduncle (the base of the tail),
and the dark bands on the back are narrow and very distinct. The head is
very broad, and the chin is usually variegated with dark grey on creamy
white. The first dorsal fin is usually streaked or has a median black bar.

Cottus beldingii has a relatively deep caudal peduncle, wide saddles, and
<usually> has two dark spots in the first dorsal fin.

Cottus perplexus and Cottus asper both have a single dark spot at the rear
of the first dorsal fin, but Cottus asper is (at least in that part of the
Willamette) heavily prickled and has a really long-based anal fin with from
19-23 rays, and a much broader head and larger mouth.

There's other characters to look at, but they involve sacrificing the fish
(or at least making it very unhappy...)

Hope this helps,

>I live close to the Portland area. I found the fish in a stream at a park
>just off of Hgwy 18. The park name is Grenfell park, the name of the steam
>escapes me at the moment. I will ask my wife when I see her and will let
>know. As for a description, it looks very similar to the pictures I have
>seen on the Cottus Bairdi. The eyes do look different on it though.
>Unfortunately I have had some trouble finding good site with pictures of
>Oregon sculpins. I am hoping to go there this weekend and get a picture of
>it if I can talk my friend into loaning me his digital camera while I go
>wading in the water. LOL hopefully I can convince him I won't drop it. I
>will get all the info I can. I just can't think of the darn name of the
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