NANFA-L-- Re: Keeping Sculpins

Gerald Pottern (gbpottern at
Thu, 15 Sep 2005 07:43:57 -0700 (PDT)

Hi Mike -- You reported Ohio EPA finding sculpins in 82 degree streams. Some warm streams have small cool spots where groundwater inflow is concentrated, such as under a boulder or tree roots, or where a trib flowing off the north side of a hill joins in. Coolwater sculpins, darters, dace, etc can use these as refuges to cool off during hot weather, and survive in streams that are otherwise too warm. Bring a thermometer with you when snorkeling streams in hot weather, and when you find a spot where these fish seem to be concentrated, poke it around in nooks & crannies and see if you can find these cool refuges. I've seen the opposite phenomenon in very cold weather (in piedmont NC) where big schools of shiners, dace, and chubs were gathered under big flat rocks, presumably to take advantage of warmer groundwater seepage (and of course to avoid current when their muscles can barely move). I have a hunch this is one reason why Elassoma are so patchy in coastal plain swamp streams
in NC; maybe they only persist long-term where reliable groundwater flow is available to moderate the extreme highs or lows. (research project anyone ?) --gerald, hangin on the neuse, NC

>>Date: Tue, 13 Sep 2005 18:54:44 -0700 (PDT)
From: Lori Austin <providentaustin at> (Mike)
Subject: Re: NANFA-L-- Keeping Sculpin

>>Occasionally I will hit a stream that seems pretty warm and all of a
sudden I will start finding sculpin (in Ohio we have primarily if not
exclusively the mottled sculpin inland). An intern with OEPA told me
that during a survey of Salt Creek trib. he was getting sculpin in a
stream that was 82 degrees. My sculpin came from Big Darby Creek which is
a typcial but diverse warmwater stream here in Ohio.
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