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Cottus cognatus.jpg
Cottus cognatus
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Order: Scorpaeniformes
Superfamily: Cottoidea
Family: Cottidae
Bonaparte, 1831


The Cottidae are a family of fish in the superfamily Cottoidea, the sculpins. It is the largest sculpin family, with about 275 species in 70 genera.[1] They are referred to simply as cottids to avoid confusion with sculpins of other families.[1]

Cottids are distributed worldwide, especially in boreal and colder temperate climates.[1] The center of diversity is the northern Pacific Ocean.[1] Species occupy many types of aquatic habitats, including marine and fresh waters, and deep and shallow zones. A large number occur in near-shore marine habitat types, such as kelp forests and shallow reefs. They can be found in estuaries and in bodies of fresh water.[1]

Most cottids are small fish, under 10 cm (3.9 in) in length.[2] The species Scorpaenichthys marmoratus can be up to 78 cm (31 in) in length.[3] They vary in coloration and patterning between species and between individuals of some species, and sometimes between sexes.[1] Their eyes are large and placed high on the head. Adults lack swim bladders.[3]


The genera of the family include:[4]



See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Kane, E. A. and T. E. Higham. (2012). Life in the flow lane: differences in pectoral fin morphology suggest transitions in station-holding demand across species of marine sculpin. Zoology (Jena) 115(4), 223-32.
  2. ^ Eschmeyer, W. N. (1998). Paxton, J. R. and W. N. Eschmeyer. (ed.). Encyclopedia of Fishes. San Diego: Academic Press. pp. 178–79. ISBN 0-12-547665-5.
  3. ^ a b Froese, R. and D. Pauly. (Eds.) Cottidae. FishBase. 2011.
  4. ^ Cottidae. Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS).
  5. ^ Tokranov, AM; Orlov, AM; Sheiko, BA (2003). "Brief review of the genera Hemilepidotus and Melletes (Cottidae) and some traits of the biology of a new species for Russia Hemilepidotus zapus from Pacific waters of the northern Kurils". Journal of Ichthyology. 43 (3): 333–49.