Cottus ricei
Spoonhead sculpin

Key Characteristics

This toad-like fish has a very wide, flat head that is spoon shaped from above. It has a mottled body, a complete later line, and a very narrow caudal peduncle. The preopercular spine is long and curved. It has a single median pore at the front of its lower jaw.

Status and Rank

  • State Status: SC
  • State Rank: S1S2
  • Global Rank: G5


County NameNumber of OccurrencesYear Last Observed
Distribution map for Cottus ricei

Updated 5/15/2018. Information is summarized from MNFI's database of rare species and community occurrences. Data may not reflect true distribution since much of the state has not been thoroughly surveyed.


Spoonhead sculpin are a deep water Great Lakes species. Little is know about this species, especially its spawning habitats.

Specific Habitat Needs

Crevices needed in Headwater Stream (1st-2nd order), Riffle, Mainstem Stream (3rd-4th order), Riffle, Inland Lake, Littoral, Benthic, Inland Lake, Pelagic, Benthic, Great Lake, Pelagic, Benthic

Natural Community Types


For each species, lists of natural communities were derived from review of the nearly 6,500 element occurrences in the MNFI database, in addition to herbarium label data for some taxa. In most cases, at least one specimen record exists for each listed natural community. For certain taxa, especially poorly collected or extirpated species of prairie and savanna habitats, natural community lists were derived from inferences from collection sites and habitat preferences in immediately adjacent states (particularly Indiana and Illinois). Natural communities are not listed for those species documented only from altered or ruderal habitats in Michigan, especially for taxa that occur in a variety of habitats outside of the state.

Natural communities are not listed in order of frequency of occurrence, but are rather derived from the full set of natural communities, organized by Ecological Group. In many cases, the general habitat descriptions should provide greater clarity and direction to the surveyor. In future versions of the Rare Species Explorer, we hope to incorporate natural community fidelity ranks for each taxon.


Likely threats to this species include: pesticide and herbicide pollution, predation by or competition with alewife, habitat degradation due to siltation, chronic trace contaminant exposure, and shifts in species compositions in the deepwater community (Houston 1990).

Active Period

Spawning from first week of September to fourth week of November

Survey Methods

Page Citation

Michigan Natural Features Inventory. 2007. Rare Species Explorer (Web Application). Available online at [Accessed Sep 23, 2018]


Survey References

Technical References

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