This rather strange-looking freshwater fish belongs to a family and an order whose members are mostly marine — and indeed, the banded sculpin looks quite a bit like its cousins, which sometimes end up in saltwater aquariums.
Grotto sculpin (left) are a cave-dwelling type of banded sculpin (right). Biologists may soon determine that grotto sculpin deserve their own scientific name, separate from the "regular" banded sculpin.
A rare fish adapted cave conditions, the grotto sculpin used to be considered simply a different form of banded sculpin. It has recently been designated an endangered species under the Federal Endangered Species Act. It's found only in Perry County, Missouri.
The grotto sculpin is a unique, cave-dwelling population of banded sculpin found only in Perry County, Missouri. Unlike other banded sculpin, grotto sculpin have smaller eyes, paler bodies and other features fitting them for cave life.
MDC protects and manages Missouri's fish, forest, and wildlife resources. We also facilitate your participation in resource-management activities, and we provide opportunities for you to use, enjoy and learn about nature.