Cutlip Minnow

Exoglossum maxillingua

SARA Status
No Status
NS
Special Concern
SC
Threatened
TH
Endangered
EN
Extirpated
EX

SARA Status

  • No Status NS
  • Special Concern SC
  • Threatened TH
  • Endangered EN
  • Extirpated EX
COSEWIC Status
Not at Risk
NR
Special Concern
SC
Threatened
TH
Endangered
EN
Extirpated
EX

COSEWIC Status

  • Not at Risk NR
  • Special Concern SC
  • Threatened TH
  • Endangered EN
  • Extirpated EX

Description

The Cutlip Minnow is a small freshwater fish in the Cyprinidea family (minnows). It can reach a length of about 160 mm. It can be distinguished from other fish species by its stout body, its silvery sides with a greenish purple sheen and its tri-lobed lower lip.

Habitat

In Canada, the Cutlip Minnow is found in the St. Lawrence River watershed, from Ivy Lea, Ontario to Saint-Pascal, Quebec. In Ontario, the species is now found in only three of the seven waterbodies where it was historically present. The species is more widespread in Quebec but, since 2002, the species has been collected in only 79 of 206 waterbodies where it was historically present. It is difficult to determine if this is the result of a decline in the species, a lack of sampling in more recent times, or a combination thereof.

The Cutlip Minnow is found primarily in clear rivers and streams with slow currents and channel substrate composed of cobbles, gravel, sand, mud and aquatic vegetation. It is a bottom feeder, consuming a variety of aquatic invertebrates.

During a survey, this fish was captured and then released unharmed back into the water.
Photo credit: Nate Tessler

Threats

Little is known about threats that are specific to the Cutlip Minnow. The species may be intolerant of persistent turbidity and excessive siltation, both potential consequences of certain agricultural and urban activities. The Round Goby and the Tench, two invasive species known to negatively impact native fishes, may also have adverse effects on the Cutlip Minnow.

Further Information

The Cutlip Minnow was assessed by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) as a species of special concern. Public consultations regarding the addition of this population to the List of Wildlife Species at Risk were held from November 17, 2014 to February 27, 2015. The Governor-in-Council's listing recommendation will published in the Canada Gazette Part I (Government of Canada newspaper where laws and regulations are published) and on the Species at Risk Public Registry.

Cutlip Minnow

Cutlip Minnow

© E. Edmonson, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

Scientific name: Exoglossum maxillingua
SARA Status: No Status
COSEWIC Status: Special Concern (2013)
Region: Quebec and Ontario

Cutlip minnow distribution area in Canada

Cutlip minnow distribution area in Canada.

Did You Know?

The Cutlip Minnow possesses several characteristics that make it unique. For example, it is the only North American minnow to have a tri-lobed lower lip, and one of the few minnows that demonstrate post-hatching care of fry. It is also known to attack and consume the eyes of other species of fish, which is the source of its common name, "eye picker."

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