This identification guide is intended to provide information and key characteristics for common sculpin species in Washington’s marine waters.  To access species information click on the common or scientific name listed in the left hand column.  For each species, information is available on expected sizes, typical distribution, and published ages. 

Characteristics helpful in identifying sculpin are:

Preopercular spine: a spine that is situated in front of the operculum, or gill cover.

Cirrus: a slender tendril or hairlike filament of flesh.

Fleshy flaps: skin flaps can be located between nostril openings, or on the nostrils.

For additional identification assistance, sculpin information is available through the Alaska Department of Fish and Game Webpage at:

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife also provides a dichotomous key for sculpin identification at:

Sculpin species