Slimy Sculpin

Slimy Sculpin.


  • Common name: Slimy Sculpin
  • Scientific name: Cottus cognatus
  • Order: Scorpaeniformes
  • Family: Cottidate
  • Indigenous names for this species may be available through the Yukon Native Language Centre

Viewing opportunities

  • Look for sculpins hopping along the bottom close to shore.


  • Broad, bony head with bulging eyes on top.
  • Body tapers, compressed laterally toward the tail.
  • Pelvic fins forward near pectoral fins, fanned.
  • Two dorsal fins: the front is short and spiny, and back is longer and soft rayed.

Fast facts

  • Length: 5 to 10 cm
  • Weight: 10 to 30 g
  • Lifespan: Unknown
  • Predators: Lake Trout, Northern Pike, Burbot
  • Habitat: Freshwater

Conservation status

What is conservation status?

  • Yukon: S5 (Secure)
  • Global: G5 (Secure)

Yukon population estimate

Not determined.


These small fish live on rock or cobble-bottomed streams or lakes. Sometimes they’ll even inhabit brackish waters. They spawn in spring in shallow water under rocks or woody debris. Sculpin are awkward swimmers because they don't have a swim bladder, which would provide buoyancy. They often seem to be hopping over the bottom rather than swimming. A sculpin will only ever travel a short distance in its lifetime.


Aquatic insects, crustaceans, fish eggs and small fish.


Slimy Sculpin distribution map.

Sculpins and people

  • Slimy Sculpin are a common food item for larger fish species; flyfishers are known to use weighted streamer flies that resemble sculpins to catch predatory fish that feed on them.