Misty Lake Stickleback (Lotic form)

Gasterosteus aculeatus

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

Descended from the marine Threespine Stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus), the Misty Lake Stickleback is a darkly pigmented freshwater fish, marked by three back-spines and typically 40 - 65 mm in length. The Misty Lake Stickleback complex includes an inlet stream form (lotic), a lake-dwelling form (lentic), and a population in the outlet stream that is considered part of the lentic species. These lentic and lotic forms are “parapatric” (meaning their ranges do not significantly overlap but are immediately adjacent to each other). In comparison to the lentic form, lotic sticklebacks have fewer gill rakers and tail fins, shorter spines, and a less streamlined body.

Habitat

The Misty Lake Lotic Stickleback occurs only within the Misty Lake watershed, a sub-basin of the Keogh River drainage on northern Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Misty Lake is a small (35.6 ha) and shallow (less than 10 m deep) coastal lake. Stream-dwelling sticklebacks probably occupy low velocity areas in the streams. The habitat of at least some fish of both forms overlaps in nesting areas among the swampy transition zones between the lake and the streams. Stream nests are probably built on gravel.

Threats

Key threats to Misty Lake Sticklebacks include: the introduction or invasion and subsequent establishment of aquatic exotic and invasive species that predate upon, or compete with, the Misty Lake Sticklebacks or degrade habitat quality; point and non-point source water pollution from contaminants such as hydrocarbons or pesticides, and increased sediment loads and degradation of water quality from land use activities in the watershed respectively; nonconforming use of the ecological reserve (e.g. use of motorized vehicles and canoes, hunting, fishing, camping, livestock grazing, and, removal of materials, plants or animals); riparian vegetation removal; water extraction; climate change; and excessive removal of individuals for scientific research.

Further Information

The Misty Lake Ecological Reserve was established in 1996 under the Protected Areas of British Columbia Act. Misty Lake and short sections of the inlet and outlet streams are contained within the reserve, affording protection from consumptive uses that include hunting, fishing, and camping. Sticklebacks are protected from capture or retention within the boundaries of the reserve, except when authorized by permit. Additionally, taxonomic investigations, including some molecular genetics work, as well as population and distribution studies have been initiated and are ongoing. Fisheries and Oceans Canada has incorporated best monitoring approaches into a draft SARA multi-species compendium report. Finally, Fisheries and Oceans Canada is developing a Recovery Strategy for the Misty Lake Sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus) in Canada.

This species is protected under the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA). More information about SARA, including how it protects individual species, is available on the Species at Risk Public Registry.

To find out if this species is protected by provincial laws, consult the Province of British Columbia's website.

Misty Lake Stickleback (Lotic form)

Misty Lake Stickleback

Misty Lake Stickleback (Lotic form)

Scientific Name: Gasterosteus aculeatus
SARA Status: Endangered
COSEWIC Status: Endangered
Region: British Columbia

Did You Know?

Lake dwelling Misty Lake Sticklebacks are only able to swim downstream, while those in the inlet of Misty Lake can swim both upstream and downstream.

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