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Fishes of Idaho

How are your identification skills? Do you know which are native and which were introduced? To see photos and descriptions, and learn more about Idaho fish, check out our Fishes of Idaho online database.

There are around 20,000 species of fish in the world. About 58% of these are marine (saltwater) fish, 41% are freshwater fish, and 1% are both. We have around 100 species in Idaho, and the list keeps growing as more non-native fish are released into Idaho waters. There are only 39 species of fish native to Idaho. The rest were introduced--some by accident, but most on purpose.

Sculpins (Cottids)

Shorthead sculpin (Cottus confusus)

Native

The shorthead sculpin is native to the Columbia River system and the freshwater drainages of Puget Sound in WN. In Idaho, this species is found in most of the tributaries of the Snake River below Shoshone Falls, including the independent drainages of the upper Snake River basin. It also is widespread in the St. Joe and Coeur d'Alene River systems. This species inhabits cold, clear riffles of streams, although some individuals occassionally inhabit the slow-moving water along shoreline and backwaters. In general, it is found at higher elevations than most other sculpins. Spawning occurs in the spring, probably in the same manner as other freshwater sculpins. Each female produces from 40 to 220 eggs. Their food is probably the same as other sculpins, because all species have a benthic mode of life. Adult shorthead sculpins are about 2.5 to 4 inches in length. This species probably serves as forage for trout.

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