Skip to main content

sculpin

sculpin, common name for a member of the superfamily Cottidea, bizarre fishes with large, spiny or armored heads and short, tapering bodies, found in both marine and freshwater habitats. The sculpins include species known as muddlers (i.e., the mottled sculpin) and some species called bullheads (i.e., the deepwater bullhead sculpins). Sculpins are cosmopolitan in arctic and northern waters. They feed at the bottom on crabs and small fishes. Of little food value, they are occasionally used as bait. The longhorn sculpin (1 ft/30 cm) and the shorthorn sculpin have sharp spines on the head. Sculpins have no scales, but are variously adorned with prickles on the head and fins. The sea raven has large teeth and a prickly skin and swells when caught. The cabezon of the Pacific reaches a weight of 25 lb (11.3 kg). The muddlers are a widespread freshwater group found in northeastern and Mississippi basin streams with gravel bottoms. They have huge pectoral fins shaped like butterfly wings with which they hang onto stones. The grotesque sea robins and flying gurnards, with fins modified into "wings" and "talons" for creeping on the ocean floor, resemble the sculpins but belong to families not classified in the superfamily Cottidea. Sculpins are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Actinopterygii, order Scorpaeniformes.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"sculpin." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 26 Apr. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"sculpin." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (April 26, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/sculpin

"sculpin." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved April 26, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/sculpin

Cottidae

Cottidae (sculpin, father lasher; subclass Actinopterygii, order Scorpaeniformes) A very large family of marine and freshwater fish, all of which have a bony support beneath the eye, and the eyes placed high on the head. There is a deep notch between the two dorsal fins, and the large pectorals are wing-like. Most sculpins are found in inshore situations; some species (e.g. Gymnocanthus tricuspis, staghorn sculpin) live in cold polar waters. Myoxocephalus scorpius (father lasher), of the N. Atlantic, is a voracious predator but is used as a source of bait and fishmeal. There are about 300 species, widespread in non-tropical regions. See also PSYCHROLUTIDAE.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Cottidae." A Dictionary of Zoology. . Encyclopedia.com. 26 Apr. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Cottidae." A Dictionary of Zoology. . Encyclopedia.com. (April 26, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/cottidae

"Cottidae." A Dictionary of Zoology. . Retrieved April 26, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/cottidae

sculpin

scul·pin / ˈskəlpən/ • n. a chiefly marine fish (Cottidae and related families) of the northern hemisphere, with a broad flattened head and spiny scales and fins. Many genera and numerous species include the bullheads.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"sculpin." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 26 Apr. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"sculpin." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. (April 26, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/sculpin

"sculpin." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved April 26, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/sculpin

sculpin

sculpin any of several spiny fishes. XVII. perh. alt. of scorpene — L. scorpæna — Gr. skórpaina, presumably f. skorpios SCORPION.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"sculpin." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. 26 Apr. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"sculpin." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. (April 26, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/sculpin-0

"sculpin." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Retrieved April 26, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/sculpin-0

sculpin

sculpin See COTTIDAE; ICELIDAE.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"sculpin." A Dictionary of Zoology. . Encyclopedia.com. 26 Apr. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"sculpin." A Dictionary of Zoology. . Encyclopedia.com. (April 26, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/sculpin

"sculpin." A Dictionary of Zoology. . Retrieved April 26, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/sculpin