Family Abyssocottidae

The Abyssocottidae is a small family of 20 species, in six genera.

They are commonly called Abyssocottids or Deep-sea Sculpins, which is confusing because they don’t actually live in a sea or deep water. However, the name Deep-water Sculpins is also used for some species from other related families, so be careful.

They are mostly bottom-dwelling fish and are restricted to the area of Lake Biakal and the Lena river in Siberia, Russia. They are mostly relatively deep water fish, as their name infers, often occurring at depths of more than 200 metres and sometimes as deep as 800 metres. The genus Abyssocottus is noteworthy because they have a double lateral line. Intensive pollution of the Lake Biakal system has put some of these species at risk.

Abyssocottids have 30 to 37 vertebrae, 3-10 spines in their dorsal fin and 1 spine in their pelvic fin. The dorsal fin also has 10-21 soft rays while the anal fin has 8-16 soft rays and the pelvic fin only 2-4 soft rays.

They range in size from 6 cm in length (Procottus gurwicii = Dwarf sculpin) to 28 cm in length (Procottus jeittelesii = Red sculpin)


Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

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