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Grotto Sculpin (Cottus specus)


Grotto sculpin held in the hand of surveyor.

Photo by Missouri Department of Conservation; Brad Pobst


Status: Endangered, listed Sept. 25, 2013


Habitat: Cave streams, springs, and surface streams in Perry County, Missouri


Range: Missouri


Lead Region: Region 3


Region 3 Lead Office: Columbia Missouri Field Office


The grotto sculpin is a small fish found mostly in cave streams. Its entire range is within Perry County, Missouri, in an area with thousands of sinkholes and over 700 caves (collectively called a “karst system”). The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has listed the grotto sculpin as endangered. Contamination of cave streams where the grotto sculpin lives is the primary reason that this fish could become extinct.


Recovering Aquatic Life In Missouri (Sept. 16, 2013) - - Grotto sculpin is a featured species in this article.


Sept. 25, 2013: Grotto Sculpin Listed as Endangered

News Release (Sept. 25, 2013): U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Lists the Grotto Sculpin as Endangered


Federal Register Final Rule: Determination of Endangered Species Status for the Grotto Sculpin (Cottus specus) Throughout Its Range (18-page PDF Adobe PDF Icon)


Federal Register Final Rule: Designation of Critical Habitat for the Grotto Sculpin (16-page PDF Adobe PDF Icon) - - The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service excluded all areas that were proposed as critical habitat for the grotto sculpin.


Questions and Answers about Listing the Grotto Sculpin as Endangered


Grotto Sculpin Fact Sheet


Cottus specus, a new troglomorphic species of sculpin (Cottidae) from southeastern Missouri. A technical paper that officially names the species. (11-page PDF; 1 MB Adobe PDF icon)



Proposal to List Grotto Sculpin as Endangered and Designate Critical Habitat

The decision to list the grotto sculpin as endangered was finalized on Sept. 25, 2013. Below are links to Federal Register publications and accompanying documents for the proposed rules.


May 7, 2013: Comment Period Re-opened; Draft Economic Analysis on Critical Habitat Available

We reopened the comment period on our proposal to list the grotto sculpin as endangered and designate critical habitat to provide for further input on the initial proposal, on a newly-released draft economic analysis of the proposed critical habitat designation and on a conservation plan prepared by the Perry County Community Economic and Environment Committeethat to address threats identified for the species.


Federal Register Notice of Availability: Listing and Designation of Critical Habitat for the Grotto Sculpin, May 7, 2013. (6-page PDF Adobe PDF icon)


Draft Economic Analysis of Critical Habitat Designation for the Grotto Sculpin, March 2013 (93-page PDF; 1.3MB Adobe PDF icon)


Draft - Protecting Our Water to Protect Our Community by the Perry County community Conservation Plan, April 7, 2013 (129-page PDF; 1.6MB Adobe PDF icon)


September 2012: Grotto Sculpin Proposed as Endangered with Critical Habitat


Federal Register Proposed Rule: Endangered Status for Grotto Sculpin and Designation of Critical Habitat




Midwest Endangered Species Home


Last updated: October 10, 2018