Joseph Pitty Couthouy was an American naval officer, conchologist, and invertebrate palaeontologist. Born in Boston, Massachusetts, he entered the Boston Latin School in 1820. He married Mary Greenwood Wild on 9 March 1832.
Couthouy applied to President Andrew Jackson for a position on the Scientific Corps of the U.S. Navy's Exploring Expedition of 1838.
He sailed with the expedition on 18 August 1838, but was sent to the Sandwich Islands for sick leave. Eventually, he dismissed according to Charles Wilkes for attempting to "promote dissension, bring me into disrepute, and destroy the harmony and efficiency of the Squadron."
Although he meticulously labeled all of his specimens from the expedition, Dall recounts how "The authorities in Washington had appointed a reverened gentleman who knew nothing of science, with a fat salary, to unpack and take care of the specimens sent home by the expedition." This gentleman then separated the specimens from the tags thus rendering many of them useless.