Cottus gobio  Linnaeus, 1758

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Cottus gobio   AquaMaps   Data sources: GBIF OBIS
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Image of Cottus gobio (Bullhead)
Cottus gobio
Picture by Kohout, J.

Classification / Names Common names | Synonyms | Catalog of Fishes (gen., sp.) | ITIS | CoL | WoRMS | Cloffa

Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Scorpaeniformes (Scorpionfishes and flatheads) > Cottidae (Sculpins)
Etymology: Cottus: Greek, kottos = a fish (Ref. 45335).   More on author: Linnaeus.

Environment / Climate / Range Ecology

Freshwater; brackish; demersal; pH range: 7.0 - 7.5; dH range: 10 - ?; potamodromous (Ref. 51243); depth range 2 - 2 m (Ref. 58018).   Subtropical; 1°C - 16°C (Ref. 45166); 70°N - 40°N, 6°W - 60°E

Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age

Maturity: Lm 4.2  range ? - ? cm
Max length : 18.0 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 556); common length : 10.0 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 556); max. reported age: 10 years (Ref. 74370)

Short description Morphology | Morphometrics

Dorsal spines (total): 6 - 8; Dorsal soft rays (total): 15-18; Anal spines: 0; Anal soft rays: 10 - 13; Vertebrae: 31 - 34. Caudal fin with 13 to 14 rays (Ref. 40476).

Distribution Countries | FAO areas | Ecosystems | Occurrences | Point map | Introductions | Faunafri

Europe: North Baltic in Scandinavia south to stream Maurine in southwesternmost of corner of Baltic basin (Germany); lower reaches of streams and rivers and along coast of Sweden, Finland, Russia southwest to Estonia.; Danube (except upper tributaries Save and Arges), Elbe, Ems, Weser and Rhône drainages;tributaries of upper Rhine downriver (northward) to about Mannheim; a few of uppermost tributaries of River Tevere, central Italy; Adriatic drainages from Potenza in Italy to Zrmanja in Croatia, except Timavo spring. Locally introduced in Scheldt drainage in Belgium. Records of sculpins from Neretva drainage in Bosnia-Herzegovina possibly belong to Cottus gobio.

Biology     Glossary (e.g. epibenthic)

Occurs in cold, clear and fast-flowing water of small stream to medium-sized rivers as well as on gravel or rocky shores of cold lakes and in slightly brackish waters along eastern coast of Baltic coast (Ref. 59043). Feeds on small bottom invertebrates, mainly insects, crustaceans. Pink to yellow eggs are found in clumps attached to undersides of large stones (Ref. 41678). Contrary to statements in older literature, eggs and larvae of fishes are not a common food item (Ref. 45167).

Life cycle and mating behavior Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae

Spawns once a year for several years in low productivity streams, but exhibits multiple spawning within a season in high productivity environments (Ref. 40290, 40754). Also Ref. 26506. Male protects several batches of eggs--deposited below a stone--for about 3 weeks. Larvae are not guarded and may occasionally been eaten (Ref. 45166).

Main reference Upload your references | References | Coordinator | Collaborators

Freyhof, J., M. Kottelat and A. Nolte, 2005. Taxonomic diversity of European Cottus with description of eight new species (Teleostei: Cottidae). Ichthyol. Explor. Freshwat. 16(2):107-172. (Ref. 55856)

IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 96402)

CITES (Ref. 94142)

Not Evaluated

Threat to humans


Human uses

Fisheries: of no interest; bait: occasionally
FAO(Publication : search) | FisheriesWiki | Sea Around Us

More information

Larval dynamics
Aquaculture profile
Allele frequencies
Mass conversion
Stamps, Coins
Swim. type
Gill area


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Estimates of some properties based on models

Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805):  PD50 = 0.5000   [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.01047 (0.00632 - 0.01736), b=3.14 (2.99 - 3.29), based on LWR estimates for this species & Family-body shape (Ref. 93245).
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278):  3.2   ±0.2 se; Based on diet studies.
Resilience (Ref. 69278):  Medium, minimum population doubling time 1.4 - 4.4 years (tm=1-3).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153):  Low to moderate vulnerability (29 of 100) .