Cutlip Minnow

Consultations on listing under the Species at Risk Act

Illustration of Cutlip Minno
Source: E. Edmonson, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

The Cutlip Minnow has been assessed by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) as a species of special concern. A species of special concern is a species that is at risk of becoming threatened or endangered because of a combination of biological characteristics and identified threats.

Before deciding whether this species will be added to the List of Wildlife Species at Risk of the Species at Risk Act(SARA), Fisheries and Oceans Canada would like your opinion, comments and suggestions regarding the possible environmental, cultural and economic impacts of listing or not listing this species. The purposes of SARA are to prevent wildlife species from becoming extinct, to provide for their recovery and to conserve biological diversity.

Please provide your input by February 27, 2015.

 

view of the tri-lobed lower lip of a Cutlip Minnow
Credit: Nate Tessler

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

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, it 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, of a lack of sampling in more recent times, or a combination thereof.

 

Distribution map of the Cutlip Minnow in Canada

Description

Map of the distribution of Cutlip Minnow. In Canada, the Cutlip Minnow is found in the St. Lawrence River watershed, from Ivy Lea, Ontario, in the west to Saint-Pascal, Quebec in the east.

Map

WHAT HAPPENS IF THE SPECIES IS ADDED TO THE LIST OF WILDLIFE SPECIES AT RISK?

In 2013, the Cutlip Minnow was assessed by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) as a species of special concern. This committee of specialists assesses Canadian wildlife species based on the best available information, which includes scientific data, community knowledge and Aboriginal traditional knowledge.

If the species is added to the List of Wildlife Species at Risk of the Species at Risk Act, a management plan will be developed. The plan will define the measures to be implemented to reduce the threats caused by human activities. Given the special concern status of the Cutlip Minnow, automatic prohibitions (for example, killing, harming, catching) in the Species at Risk Act do not apply.

PROVINCIAL STATUS

In Ontario, the Cutlip Minnow is designated as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act, 2007, and a provincial recovery strategy has been prepared. In Quebec, the species is not on the province’s list of threatened or vulnerable species under the Act respecting threatened or vulnerable species.

For more information about the Cutlip Minnow

Habitat and Life Cycle

The Cutlip Minnow is found primarily in clear rivers and streams with slow current and channel substrate composed of cobbles, gravel, sand, mud and aquatic vegetation. During the spawning period, in spring or early summer, the male builds a nest by moving small stones one by one. When the nest is ready, he lets one female lay her eggs, which he simultaneously fertilizes. After spawning, he maintains the nest and defends his eggs and fry. The Cutlip Minnow is a bottom feeder, consuming a variety of aquatic invertebrates.

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 some 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.

Special Significance

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 slang common name, “eye picker.”

Cutlip Minnow in a hand
During a survey, this fish was captured and then released unharmed back into the water. (Photo credit: Nate Tessler)


Questionnaire on the listing of Cutlip Minnow under the Species at Risk Act

The purpose of this questionnaire is to obtain your comments on adding the Cutlip Minnow to the List of Wildlife Species at Risk included under the federal Species at Risk Act.

  1. Do you support adding the Cutlip Minnow to the List of Wildlife Species at Risk? Why?
    Yes
    No

  2. What would be the positive impacts of listing the Cutlip Minnow on your activities, the community, the environment,
    the culture and economy?

  3. What would be the negative impacts of listing the Cutlip Minnow on your activities, the community, the environment,
    the culture and economy?

  4. Do you have any other comments on listing the Cutlip Minnow?

  5. Indicate your background (e.g. fisheries, environment). If you are answering on behalf of an Aboriginal community, an industry, a small business1, a community or organisation, please specify.

  6. In what province or territory do you live? In what province or territory does your organization operate?

  7. If the Cutlip Minnow is listed, do you want to help with its recovery or survival?

 

Your name, your email address (optional − if you want a follow-up from us).

 

The purpose of these questions is to obtain your comments on adding the Cutlip Minnow to the List of Wildlife Species at Risk. If you cannot use our interactive questionnaire (413,5 KB), please submit your comments using the comment form.

 

Do not hesitate to contact us for any inquiries.

Quebec
Species at Risk Management
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Maurice Lamontagne Institute
850 route de la Mer, P.O. Box 1000
Mont-Joli, Quebec, G5H 3Z4
Phone: 1-877-775-0848
Email: lep-sara-qc@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

Ontario
Species at Risk Program
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Freshwater Institute
501 University Crescent
Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3T 2N6
Phone: 204-984-0599 or 1-866-538-1609
Email: fwisar@dfo-mpo.gc.ca