endemic to a single nation
Regularity: Regularly occurring
Type of Residency: Year-round
Global Range: (1000-5000 square km (about 400-2000 square miles)) Range includes the extreme upper Clinch and Holston river systems (Tennessee River drainage) in western Virginia and just into northeastern Tennessee (Page and Burr 2011). This species has been reported from Doe Creek of the upper Watauga branch of the South Fork Holston in Tennessee, but that population apparently is C. bairdii ("smoky sculpin") (Jenkins and Burkhead 1994).
Length: 7 cm
Habitat and Ecology
Habitat Type: Freshwater
Comments: This sculpin typically occurs in cool to cold (i.e., trout-water) streams and spring runs with usually clear water and moderate to high gradient, including main river channels, larger tributaries, and headwater springs; it is rare in streams more than 15 meters wide; large juveniles and adults occur in riffles and runs with gravel to boulder substrates, occasionally in well-flowing parts of pools; adults tend to be most common in shallow, swift riffles; young generally inhabit stream margins and slow runs; nests with eggs have been found under stones in shallow riffles (Jenkins and Burkhead 1994).
Non-Migrant: No. All populations of this species make significant seasonal migrations.
Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make local extended movements (generally less than 200 km) at particular times of the year (e.g., to breeding or wintering grounds, to hibernation sites).
Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make annual migrations of over 200 km.
Comments: Eats almost exclusively immature aquatic insects in summer; rarely eats crustaceans, water mites, and fishes.
Number of Occurrences
Note: For many non-migratory species, occurrences are roughly equivalent to populations.
Estimated Number of Occurrences: 6 - 20
Comments: This species is represented by a fairly large number of occurrences (subpopulations), and by more than 10 locations as defined by IUCN.
10,000 - 100,000 individuals
Comments: Total adult population size is unknown but presumably exceeds 10,000. This species is often common or abundant (Jenkins and Burkhead 1994). Common in small range (Page and Burr 2011).
Life History and Behavior
Spawns from late winter to mid-spring; most yearlings are immature (Jenkins and Burkhead 1994).
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
National NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded National Status Rank: N4 - Apparently Secure
NatureServe Conservation Status
Rounded Global Status Rank: G4 - Apparently Secure
Reasons: Small range in the extreme upper Tennessee River drainage in western Virginia and northeastern Tennessee; currently stable; not clearly distinct from the smoky sculpin (Cottus bairdi).
Total adult population size is unknown but presumably exceeds 10,000. This species is often common or abundant (Jenkins and Burkhead 1994). Common in small range (Page and Burr 2011).
Currently stable (Warren et al. 2000).
Global Short Term Trend: Relatively stable (=10% change)
Comments: Currently stable (Warren et al. 2000).
Degree of Threat: B : Moderately threatened throughout its range, communities provide natural resources that when exploited alter the composition and structure of the community over the long-term, but are apparently recoverable
Comments: No major threats exist at this time. Potential threats include pollution, impoundment, and other forms of habitat destruction.
Biological Research Needs: Research life history, taxonomy.
Global Protection: Unknown whether any occurrences are appropriately protected and managed
Needs: Protect all element occurrences.
Names and Taxonomy
Comments: Status as a distinct species is debatable; possibly conspecific with the "smoky sculpin" form of C. bairdi; further taxonomic study is needed (Jenkins and Burkhead 1994).
Formerly included in the order Perciformes; the 1991 AFS checklist (Robins et al. 1991) followed Nelson (1984) in recognizing the order Scorpaeniformes as distinct from the Perciformes.