E-Fauna BC: Electronic Atlas of the Wildlife of British Columbia

Esox lucius Linnaeus, 1758
Northern Pike
Family: Esocidae
Photo of species

© Ian Gardiner  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #5752)


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Source: Distribution map provided by Don McPhail for E-Fauna BC
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Species Information

Dorsal spines (total): 6 - 8; Dorsal soft rays (total): 17 - 25; Anal spines: 4 - 7; Anal soft rays: 10 - 22; Vertebrae: 57 - 65. Distinguished by its long, flat, 'duck-bill' snout; its large mouth with many large, sharp teeth; and the rearward position of its dorsal and anal fins (Ref. 27547). Gill rakers present only as patches of sharp teeth on gill arches; lateral line notched posteriorly (Ref. 27547). Dorsal located far to the rear; anal located under and arising a little behind dorsal; pectorals low on body, base under opercle; pelvic fins low on body; paired fins rounded, paddle-shaped (Ref. 27547). Caudal fin with 19 rays (Ref. 2196).

Source: FishBase. Crossman, E.J. 1996 Taxonomy and distribution. p. 1-11. In J.F. Craig (ed.) Pike biology and exploration. Chapman and Hall, London. 298 p.

Biology

Species Biology

Occurs in clear vegetated lakes, quiet pools and backwaters of creeks and small to large rivers (Ref. 5723). Usually solitary and highly territorial. Enters brackish water in the Baltic. Adults feed mainly on fishes, but at times feed heavily on frogs and crayfish (Ref. 27547). Cannibalistic as juveniles (Ref. 30578). Eggs and young are preyed upon by fishes, aquatic insect larvae, birds, and aquatic mammals (Ref. 1998). Does not generally undertake long migrations, but a few may move considerable distances (Ref. 27547). Oviparous (Ref. 205). This fish can be heavily infested with parasites, including the broad tapeworm which, if not killed by thorough cooking, can infect human; is used as an intermediate host by a cestode parasite which results to large losses in usable catches of lake whitefish (Coregonus clupeaformis) in some areas; also suffers from a trematode which causes unsightly cysts on the skin (Ref. 9988).

Source: FishBase. Crossman, E.J. 1996 Taxonomy and distribution. p. 1-11. In J.F. Craig (ed.) Pike biology and exploration. Chapman and Hall, London. 298 p.

Distribution

BC Distribution and Notes

Northern Pike are abundant in suitable habitats in the northeastern part of the province (Mackenzie River system) and in the upper Yukon system. Pike have been introduced into Kootenay and Pend d’Oreille River system. They are now established in the Kootenay River, and it is probably only a matter of time before they disperse downstream into the Pend d’Oreille system in B.C. Although they will provide a different angling experience, their overall impact on native fishes is likely to be negative.

Source: Information provided by Don McPhail for E-Fauna BC.
Global Distribution

Circumpolar in fresh water. North America: Atlantic, Arctic, Pacific, Great Lakes and Mississippi River basins from Labrador to Alaska and south to Pennsylvania, Missouri and Nebraska, USA. Eurasia: France to eastern Siberia, south to northern Italy. Absent from northern Scotland. Introduced into other countries. Several countries report adverse ecological impact after introduction.

Source: FishBase. Crossman, E.J. 1996 Taxonomy and distribution. p. 1-11. In J.F. Craig (ed.) Pike biology and exploration. Chapman and Hall, London. 298 p.
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Status Information

Origin StatusProvincial StatusBC List
(Red Blue List)
COSEWIC
NativeS5YellowNot Listed
BC Ministry of Environment: BC Species and Ecosystems Explorer--the authoritative source for conservation information in British Columbia.

Additional Range and Status Information Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References


Recommended citation: Author, Date. Page title. In Klinkenberg, Brian. (Editor) 2021. E-Fauna BC: Electronic Atlas of the Fauna of British Columbia [efauna.bc.ca]. Lab for Advanced Spatial Analysis, Department of Geography, University of British Columbia, Vancouver. [Accessed: 2022-09-30 6:58:30 PM]
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