/skul"pin/, n., pl. (esp. collectively) sculpin, (esp. referring to two or more kinds or species) sculpins.
1. any small, freshwater fish of the genus Cottus, of the family Cottidae, having a large head with one or more spines on each side; bullhead.
2. any of numerous marine fishes of the same family.
3. (in California) a common scorpionfish, Scorpaena guttata.
[1665-75; orig. uncert.]

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Any of about 300 species (family Cottidae) of inactive, bottom-dwelling fishes found principally in northern regions.

Sculpins are slender and tapered and have one or more spines on the gill covers, large fanlike pectoral fins, and smooth or spiny skin. The head is usually wide and heavy. Most species live in shallow seawaters, some live in deeper waters, and others inhabit fresh water. The largest species grow to 2 ft (60 cm) long; the miller's-thumb (Cottus gobio), common in European lakes and rivers, is only about 4 in. (10 cm) long. Other species of Cottus are found in Asia and North America.

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also called  Bullhead, or Sea Scorpion,  

      any of the numerous, usually small fish of the family Cottidae (order Scorpaeniformes), found in both salt water and fresh water, principally in northern regions of the world. Sculpins are elongated, tapered fish, usually with wide, heavy heads. The gill covers have one or more spines, the pectoral fins are large and fanlike, and the skin is either naked or provided with small spines.

      Sculpins are bottom-dwelling, inactive fish. Most are found in shallow sea waters, though some live in deeper waters, and others, such as the miller's-thumb (Cottus gobio), inhabit freshwater. The sculpins are of little value to humans, as they are not generally considered tasty. Some, such as the sea raven (Hemitripterus americanus), are of use as bait for lobster pots, and some are of negative importance as consumers of valuable shrimp and young salmon and trout.

      There are about 300 species of sculpins, the largest of which grow about 60 cm (2 feet) long. Among the freshwater sculpins, the miller's-thumb is a common and familiar species. It is found in European lakes and rivers and is a small, generally mottled-brown fish growing about 10 cm (4 inches) long. It is related to various other species of the genus Cottus that are found in Asia and North America.

      Familiar marine sculpins of the Atlantic Ocean include such forms as: the bullrout, or shorthorn sculpin (Myoxocephalus scorpius), a large, mottled-brownish sculpin found in Europe, the Arctic, and North America; the longhorn sculpin (M. octodecemspinosus), a common North American species, variable in colour and with long cheek spines; and the sea raven, a North American fish distinctively adorned with fleshy tabs on its head and notable for its ability, like certain other sculpins, to inflate itself with air when removed from the water.

      In the Pacific Ocean, there are such species as the cabezone (Scorpaenichthys marmoratus), a large, eastern Pacific fish, edible but often having blue- or green-tinted flesh; the staghorn sculpin (Leptocottus armatus), a common North American species; and Vellitor centropomus, a long-snouted sculpin common in the Orient.

      The name sculpin is also applied to various other small, primarily northern Pacific fish of the family Icelidae. These, the two-horn sculpins (two-horned sculpin), grow to a maximum length of about 25 cm (10 inches) and are characterized by bony plates (scutes) on the back and on the lateral line.

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • sculpin — [skul′pin] n. pl. sculpin or sculpins [prob. altered < Fr scorpene < L scorpaena: see SCORPION] 1. any of a family (Cottidae) of small, generally scaleless, mostly marine percoid fishes with a spiny head and wide mouth ☆ 2. a scorpionfish… …   English World dictionary

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  • sculpin — noun (plural sculpins; also sculpin) Etymology: origin unknown Date: 1672 1. any of a family (Cottidae) of spiny large headed usually bottom dwelling often scaleless bony fishes with large fanlike pectoral fins 2. a scorpion fish (Scorpaena… …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • sculpin — /ˈskʌlpən/ (say skulpuhn) noun (plural sculpin or sculpins) 1. a small freshwater fish of the genus Cottus (family Cottidae), with a large head armed on each side with one or more spines; bullhead. 2. any marine fish of the same family. {? New… …  

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  • sculpin — noun A small fish of the family Cottidae, usually lacking scales. Often found on river bottoms and in tidal pools …   Wiktionary

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  • sculpin — [ skʌlpɪn] noun a chiefly marine fish with a broad flattened head and spiny scales and fins. [Many species, chiefly in the family Cottidae.] Origin C17: perh. from obs. scorpene, via L. from Gk skorpaina, denoting a kind of fish …   English new terms dictionary

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