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The Slimy Sculpin

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The Slimy Sculpin

Post by Guest on Sat Sep 01, 2012 1:07 pm

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Slimy Sculpin
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Image of animal

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General Information;

Type: Fish
Diet: Omnivore
Size: Up to 12.1 in (30,5 cm)
Weight: Up to 5lbs (2,27 kg)
Conservation status: Not applicable
Scientific Classification: Kingdom: Animalia, Phylum: Chordata, Class: Actinopterygii, Order: Scorpaeniformes, Suborder: Cottoidei, Superfamily: Cottoidea, Family: Cottidae, Genus: Cottus
Size relative to a 6-ft (2-m) man: Not applicable
Slimy Sculpin Range


The slimy sculpin, Cottus cognatus, is a freshwater species of fish that inhabits cool, rocky streams, rivers and lakes throughout northern North America and eastern Siberia. The slimy sculpin is found in freshwater and sometimes brackish water in areas with rocky or gravel type bottoms. The slimy sculpin is a nocturnal fish that usually spends most of its time on the stream bottom and seeks shelter under rocks and logs, especially during spawning season. When it swims, it sometimes appears to be “hopping” along the bottom because of its inefficient ability to swim. This is partly due to the absence of a swim bladder, which normally gives buoyancy to a fish.
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Physical Features;
The Slimy Sculpin is a bizarre looking little fish with a broad flattened head, thin tapering body, and expansive wing-like pectoral fins. The eyes are located high atop the head, and the mouth is large and well provided with small teeth. There are one or more small spines on the preopercle (gill covers), and a patch of prickles is present behind the pectoral fin. The remainder of the skin is smooth. There are 7 - 10 weak spines in the first dorsal fin, 14 - 19 soft rays in the elongated second dorsal fin and 10 - 13 soft rays in the anal fin. The small pelvic fins are situated beneath the pectoral fins and have one hidden spine in the flesh followed by 3 -4 soft rays. The coloration is mottled brown to gray on the back and sides with a whitish belly. Dark cross-bands is sometimes present on the sides. Often there are two dark, oblique saddle marks, one under each of anterior and posterior portions of the second dorsal fin. The first dorsal fin is darkly pigmented at the base and almost clear marginally. The second dorsal, caudal, and anal fins may be lightly barred. The pectoral fins usually have wide bands. The chin is uniformly pigmented and not mottled. During breading season, males become nearly black, and have a broad bright reddish orange border on their first dorsal fin.
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Mental Features;
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. Like most sculpins, males nest under rocks and are territorial. Females deposit their sticky eggs on the underside of the nest-rock. Here, they are fertilized by the male. The male guards the eggs until they hatch. The eggs range in colour from light yellow to amber-red. In B.C., egg numbers range from about 60 to 650. Normally, water temperatures increase during the incubation period (from about 4 °C to 8 °C) and, under these conditions, the eggs take about a month to hatch. The newly hatched larvae are roughly 7 mm long and have a large yolk sac. Young-of-the-year range from 30-32 mm in length by the end of their first summer. So far, the oldest slimy sculpin aged in British Columbia was in its eighth growing season (7+).
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Diet;
Young-of-the-year slimy sculpins forage primarily on chironomid larvae but, as they grow, the nymphs and larvae of larger aquatic insects are added to the diet. Although adults and juveniles include mayfly and stonefly nymphs, and caddis larvae in their diet, Chironomid larvae are still a major food. Large adults also eat appreciable quantities of aquatic beetles, snails, and amphipods.
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Habitat;
The slimy sculpin occupies deeper waters of lakes and colder streams and occurs further north than the mottled sculpin (C. bairdi). It frequents rocky orgravely streams and lake bottoms, darting swiftly from place to place when disturbed. The slimy sculpin has been reported to be in abundant numbers accompanying the threespine sticklebacks in tidal pools of Ungava Canada. Although common in rocky shallows of lakes in the north slimy sculpins are frequently found in cold spring-fed streams in the south and east.
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Credits (c);

Images:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/28549201@N04/3501834316/

Information:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slimy_Sculpin
http://fishindex.blogspot.co.uk/2009/07/slimy-sculpin-cottus-cognatus.html
http://www.bchydro.com/pwcp/fish/slimy_sculpin.shtml
http://globalflyfisher.com/streamers/fish/muddler/sculpininfo.htm
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