Definition of sculpin in English:



  • A chiefly marine fish of the northern hemisphere, with a broad flattened head and spiny scales and fins.

    Cottidae and related families: many genera and numerous species, including the bullheads

    • ‘Many species eat the fry and smolts, including striped bass, American shad, sculpins and sea gulls.’
    • ‘Spawning in both species occurs during late autumn and winter, and patterns of seasonal occurrence are important factors in the life cycles of these sculpins.’
    • ‘Gobies are distinguished from sculpins of similar appearance by their fused pelvic fin, which is characteristic of the family Gobiidae.’
    • ‘For instance, the pygmy sculpin is known only from Coldwater Spring, part of the Coosa River system of northeast Alabama.’
    • ‘Two such methods include coiling the body around the eggs (pricklebacks and gunnels) and covering the eggs with algae (temperate sculpins and wrasses).’
    • ‘Common Mergansers have come under fire for preying on salmon, but studies in British Columbia show that the most common prey item there for Common Mergansers is the sculpin.’
    • ‘In addition to whitefish, bull trout will feed on sculpins, darters or other trout and where applicable, salmon fry.’


Late 17th century: perhaps from obsolete scorpene, via Latin from Greek skorpaina, denoting a kind of fish.