The Cultus pygmy sculpin was first identified in 1934; most of what is known comes from a single paper published by Ricker (1960). Described as a dwarf form of the coastrange sculpin, Cottus aleuticus , there are important differences in morphology and ecology, notably small body size, retention of larval features, and a limnetic existence. Observed diets of plankton corroborate the findings of limnetic life history but other details of habitat use are unknown. There are large data gaps for the species including basic biology (e.g., life history, habitat use, reproduction), trends in abundance, and taxonomic status. The most significant gap is taxonomic status, since its legal status under SARA is dependent on its status as a designatable unit. A variety of factors potentially threaten Cultus pygmy sculpin, but most are poorly understood. Primary threats are introduction of exotic fish species and impacts associated with urbanization of the watershed. Data are lacking for Cultus pygmy sculpin habitat, so specific trends in habitat availability are unknown. Comparisons of limnological information from 2001 with that collected in the ‘30s and ‘60s suggest that Cultus Lake limnetic habitat has changed little over the past 65 years, despite a considerable increase in public use of the lake and adjacent lands. This recovery strategy focuses on ensuring the long-term viability of species, and offers a variety of approaches to attain this goal. Priority actions are to clarify taxonomic status, collect information on life-history and habitat associations, fill data gaps that inhibit conservation of the species, delineate critical habitat in the wild, and reduce habitat impacts. Activities aimed at protecting and enhancing habitats of other species of fish and wildlife may benefit Cultus pygmy sculpin, although numeric enhancement of sockeye may negatively affect sculpins if the two species compete for plankton resources.
National Recovery Team for Cultus Pygmy Sculpin. 2007. Recovery Strategy for Cultus Pygmy Sculpin (Cottus sp.) in Canada. Ministry of Environment. Recovery Plan
Topic: Recovery Planning
Keywords: SARA, species recovery planning, species status, species at risk, bc, COSEWIC
Scientific Name: Cottus sp. 2
English Name: Cultus Pygmy Sculpin
Other Identifier: Fisheries and Oceans Canada
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