Scientific Name: Exoglossum maxillingua
Other/Previous Names: Cutlips Minnow
Taxonomy Group: Fishes
Range: Ontario, Quebec
Last COSEWIC Assessment: November 2013
Last COSEWIC Designation: Special Concern
SARA Status: No schedule, No Status
Image of Cutlip Minnow
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.
Distribution and Population
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. 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 little current, channel substrate composed of cobbles, gravel, sand, mud and aquatic vegetation. It is a bottom feeder, consuming a variety of aquatic invertebrates.
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. 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."
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.
The Cutlip Minnow was assessed by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) as a species of special concern. Consultations regarding the addition of this species to the List of Wildlife Species at Risk are expected to begin in fall 2014.
Provincial and Territorial Protection
Quebec cyprinids and small percids recovery team
Marthe Bérubé - Chair/Contact -
Phone: 877-775-0848 Send Email
Alain Kemp - Chair/Contact -
Phone: 877-775-0848 Send Email
PLEASE NOTE: Not all COSEWIC reports are currently available on the SARA Public Registry. Most of the reports not yet available are status reports for species assessed by COSEWIC prior to May 2002. Other COSEWIC reports not yet available may include those species assessed as Extinct, Data Deficient or Not at Risk. In the meantime, they are available on request from the COSEWIC Secretariat.
4 record(s) found.
- COSEWIC Status Reports (1 record(s) found.)
- Response Statements (1 record(s) found.)
- COSEWIC Annual Reports (1 record(s) found.)
- Consultation Documents (1 record(s) found.)
COSEWIC Status Reports
COSEWIC Annual Reports
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