Scientists Discover New Big Head Fish Species in Northern Rocky Mountains

Posted on January 31, 2014

Cedar Sculpin sketch


Scientists have discovered a new fish species, the Cedar Sculpin (Cottus schitsuumsh), in the Northern Rocky Mountains. The fish was discovered by scientists from the U.S. Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station and confirmed as a new species by researchers at the University of Montana.

Cedar Sculpin photos


The fish was discovered in the Coeur d' Alene and St. Joe River basins in Idaho and part of the Clark Fork River basin in Montana. The scientists consulted with Tribal edlers from the Coeur d' Alene Tribe to name the fish species as the region overlaps the tribe's historical homeland.

U.S. Forest Service research fisheries biologist Michael Young says in a statement, "Recognizing species of sculpins is a challenge because even distantly related species look very much alike. So rather than taking a morphological approach to identification, we used genetic methods to delineate the species. It's really exciting to find a new species of fish. It's something you might expect in more remote parts of the world, but not in the U.S."

A research paper about the new species was published here in Zootaxa.

Photos: US Forest Service