Re: NANFA-- NANFA Beautiful Day for swimming with sculpins

Bruce Stallsmith (
Sun, 04 Aug 2002 10:52:40 -0400

Gad, my message below from yesterday is the kind of disinformation that
happens when you write when you're really tired... First of all, Bob Stiles
is at Samford Univ., NOT Samson(!). And J.D. Williams is with the U.S.G.S.
in Gainesville, FL. The renaming of the pygmy sculpin is described in a
short article in the journal Copeia, issue No. 1 in the year 2000, page 302.
Basically, the name pygmaeus had been used earlier with another naming of a
species of Cottus. Even though that name was later changed, taxonomy has
rules about the priority of name use, such that pygmaeus was not available
for the pygmy sculpin. So, Williams proposed using the specific name paulus
(which means "little" in Latin) as a taxonomically legal name for this
species, without any basic redescription. So, that's the whole tempest in a
teacup here. I hope that makes sense...

--Bruce Stallsmith
Huntsville, AL, US of A

>From: "Bruce Stallsmith" <>
>Subject: Re: NANFA-- NANFA Beautiful Day for swimming with sculpins
>Date: Sat, 03 Aug 2002 20:01:58 -0400
>Jon, if you live near Birmingham (I'd guess you do...) you could try to
>contact Bob Stiles at Samson University for information about the pygmy
>sculpin. He's done survey work on the population over the last 2-3 years
>with other people. Dave Neely, not currently on this list, is another good
>contact about sculpins in general (honestly, anything you want to know
>about them!). But Dave's out West herping with some friends, so he's outta
>touch until later this month I suspect.
>I don't know exactly why this species has been renamed, but my guess is
>that there's a long history of competing descriptions going back decades,
>and the specific name _paulus_ may have precedence. Or, the species has
>been redescribed to better separate it from others, and this redescription
>is fundamental enough that a new specific name is warranted. I think that
>J.D. Williams is at Alabama/Tuscaloosa, you could track him down and ask...
>--Bruce Stallsmith
>Huntsville, AL, US of A
>>Subject: NANFA-- NANFA Beautiful Day for swimming with sculpins
>>Date: Sat, 03 Aug 2002 18:12:27 -0400
>>Hello all, I've been doing some snorkeling in Coldwater creek today and
>>with the specifics of the fish still crisp in my head I need a good place
>>to view images of various sculpins so I can identify this little guys.
>>Also, I saw what appeared to be a pike today? Do pike like in cold clear
>>creeks this far south? And does anybody know what prompted J. D.
>>Williams to rename Cottus Pygmaeus to Cottus Paulus back in 2000?
>> Save the Pygmy Sculpin!!!!
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