Longhorn Sculpin

Longhorn Sculpin (Myoxocephalus octodecemspinosus) Family Cottidae, Sculpins

Common names: sculpin, hornpout, horndog

Description: Longhorn sculpin differ in color according to their surroundings. Their coloration may vary from dark olive to pale green yellow to green brown. As a rule, they are marked with three or four indefinite, irregular dark crossbars which run down their sides. Their underbelly is white. These fish have a large head and a slender body which is five and one­half times as long as it is deep. They also have large eyes, fan­like pectoral fins, two dorsal fins and a comparatively small tail fin. Their skull is covered with numerous sharp spines, the longest of which starts at their cheek and goes as far back as the edge of their gill cover. Longhorn sculpin can grow to 18 inches in length, although few of them ever get any longer than 10 to 14 inches.

Where found: inshore and offshore

Similar Gulf of Maine species: shorthorn sculpin

Remarks: Of the several species of sculpin living in the Gulf of Maine, longhorn sculpin are the most numerous. They are found at depths ranging from a few feet to over 300 feet. These fish have a voracious appetite and will readily take any type of bait that is presented. They are considered a nuisance by anglers who are after more desirable species of fish. Because their head is covered with spines, extra care should be taken when handling them.

Records: MSSAR (Maine State Saltwater Angler Records)
IGFA: All­-Tackle World Record

Fish Illustrations by: Roz Davis Designs, Damariscotta, ME (207) 563­2286

Drawings provided courtesy of the Maine Department of Marine Resources Recreational Fisheries program and the Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund.

BACK TO: Maine Saltwater Fish Species List

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