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

Lota lota (Linnaeus, 1758)
Burbot
Family: Lotidae

Photo of species

© Jamie Fenneman  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #3208)


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

Dorsal spines (total): 0; Dorsal soft rays (total): 67 - 96; Anal spines: 0; Anal soft rays: 58 - 79; Vertebrae: 50 - 67. Distinguished by the long second dorsal fin, at least 6 times as long as the first, and a single barbel on the chin. Gill rakers short. First dorsal short; second dorsal and anal fins joined to caudal; pectorals short and rounded; caudal rounded , with 40 rays. Color is yellow, light tan to brown with a pattern of dark brown or black on the body, head and fins. Pelvic fins pale, others dark and mottled.

Source: FishBase. Cohen, D.M., T. Inada, T. Iwamoto and N. Scialabba 1990 FAO species catalogue. Vol. 10. Gadiform fishes of the world (Order Gadiformes). An annotated and illustrated catalogue of cods, hakes, grenadiers and other gadiform fishes known to date. FAO Fish. Synop. 10 (125). 442 p.

Identification and Subspecies Information

The British Columbia Conservation Data Centre (2012) recognizes a separate red-listed population of this species, reported from: "Lower Kootenai River, from Kootenai Falls, Montana, downstream through Idaho to Kootenay Lake, British Columbia (USFWS 2001). Currently, only one tributary stream is known to support spawning (Goat River, British Columbia) (USFWS 2001)".

Refer to the BC Species and Ecosystem Explorer for more details.

Biology

Species Biology

The only member of the family which lives in freshwater. Crepuscular and nocturnal. Inhabit deep lakes and large rivers with slow-moving current. Seek shelter under rocks, in crevices on the river banks, among roots of trees and dense vegetation. Those in rivers tend to congregate in deep holes throughout the year, except at spawning. Movements into shallower water during summer nights are related to feeding. Smaller individuals feed on insect larvae, crayfish, mollusks and other invertebrates with a changing preference for fishes in larger individuals.

Source: FishBase. Cohen, D.M., T. Inada, T. Iwamoto and N. Scialabba 1990 FAO species catalogue. Vol. 10. Gadiform fishes of the world (Order Gadiformes). An annotated and illustrated catalogue of cods, hakes, grenadiers and other gadiform fishes known to date. FAO Fish. Synop. 10 (125). 442 p.

Distribution

BC Distribution and Notes

In North America, burbot survived glaciation in multiple refugia and different morphological forms of this species now occur in different regions. At least two subspecies have been recognized — one in Siberia, Alaska, parts of the Yukon, and in northern B.C., and the other on the Great Plains and eastern North America. Regardless of whether or not forms derived from different refugia warrant subspecific recognition, B.C. probably was colonized from both refugia. Consequently, genetically, our northern and southern burbot populations probably are different. Whether these differences translate into life history or habitat differences is unknown. The northern populations appear to be healthy but some of our southern populations are in trouble. For example, the once thriving burbot population in Kootenay Lake is almost gone and other Columbia system populations may also be in decline.

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

Circumarctic in freshwater.

Source: FishBase. Cohen, D.M., T. Inada, T. Iwamoto and N. Scialabba 1990 FAO species catalogue. Vol. 10. Gadiform fishes of the world (Order Gadiformes). An annotated and illustrated catalogue of cods, hakes, grenadiers and other gadiform fishes known to date. FAO Fish. Synop. 10 (125). 442 p.
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Status Information

Scientific NameOrigin StatusProvincial StatusBC List
(Red Blue List)
COSEWIC
Lota lotaNativeS4YellowNot Listed
Lota lota pop. 1NativeS1RedNot 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: 2022-01-23 3:37:21 AM]
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