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The Paiute sculpin, Cottus beldingii, is native to parts of Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, Nevada, California, Oregon, and Washington. The species is not widely distributed in Utah, however, occurring only in the lower Bear River drainage, in the northern part of the state. Because of its limited distribution, the Paiute sculpin is rare in Utah.

Similar to Utah's other sculpin species, the Paiute sculpin is primarily a bottom dweller. As such, the main component of the Paiute sculpin diet is benthic (bottom-dwelling) aquatic insect larvae. Other food items, such as snails, algae, and detritus, are also consumed in limited quantities.

Spawning occurs in the late spring, and nests are guarded by males. In Utah, the Paiute sculpin is found in cold, clear streams with rocky substrate. Outside of Utah, the Paiute sculpin also occurs in lakes. It is, for example, abundant in Lake Tahoe, on the California-Nevada border.


  • Biotics Database. 2005. Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, NatureServe, and the network of Natural Heritage Programs and Conservation Data Centers.

  • Sigler, W. F. and J. W. Sigler. 1996. Fishes of Utah[:] a natural history. University of Utah Press. Salt Lake City. 375 pp.