NANFA-- Georgia Cottus...

Dave Neely (
Tue, 11 Jan 2000 09:22:14 CST


>We were in Dade County, I believe it's part of the Upper Tennessee.

Whew, that makes things easier. Both <Cottus carolinae> and <Cottus
"bairdi"> occur in Dade Co, and are relatively easy to separate: <C.
carolinae> from that area has a complete lateral line (LL), a broad bar on
the caudal peduncle, a strong to moderately mottled chin, well developed
saddles under the 2nd dorsal with an even ground color, and no red margin on
the 1st dorsal fin; <C. bairdi> from this area have an incomplete LL, a
narrow caudal bar, an evenly pigmented chin (it will fade to cream on the
ithsmus), ragged saddles under the 2nd dorsal, often with the area between
these saddles darker than the surrounding ground color, and a red-orange 1st
dorsal fin margin. <C. bairdi> is relatively uncommon in this area,
inhabiting only a few spring-fed creeks. Some <bairdi> that I've seen from
Francis Spring (trib to the lower Sequatchie) and Falling Water Creek (near
Chattanooga), both in TN, have single median chin pores (!). <C. carolinae>
is abundant and widespread in this area (and is probably what you have).

When you get onto the Blue Ridge, existing keys break down. The "bairdi"
forms up there (all currently referred to as the "smoky sculpin") generally
have a complete LL, making it more difficult to distinguish them from
sympatric carolinae.

Cheers, and good luck.

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