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New fish species discovered in Idaho, Montana is Cedar sculpin

The Coeur d'Alene River is home to a new species of fish.
The Coeur d'Alene River is home to a new species of fish.
Wikimedia Commons User Todd Murray

New fish species have been discovered in the Coeur d’Alene and St. Joe rivers. The Cedar sculpin is a new fish species that is found in Idaho and Montana. According to a report from Thursday (Jan. 30), they are small, prehistoric-looking and have served as a food source for trout. Apparently they have been around for a while, but biologists had misclassified them as a more common variety known as shorthead sculpin.

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It was during a genetic inventory of fish in the upper Columbia River basin that this discovery was made. The researchers weren't even sure they had stumbled across anything out of the ordinary until genetic testing was done on the specimens. the reason that they have now been named Cedar sculpin is due to the numerous Western red cedars that line the banks of streams where they have been discovered. The Idaho panhandle now has a new claim to fame thanks to this discovery.

This new fish species survives as a freshwater sculpin and dwells on the bottom of rivers. It is found in cold, swiftly flowing streams, many of which are rich with snow runoff from the mountains. They are described as being no larger than six inches and are the preferred food of trout and bull trout in the area. One of the scientists responsible for the fins (Michael Young) stated, "The discovery of a new fish is something I never thought would happen in my career because it's very rare in the United States."

Don Johnson from Idaho State University stated, "It tells you how much we still don't know about our environment and the interactions of its diverse components."

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