Pygmy Whitefish
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Name and Code
Salmonidae - trouts and salmons
Prosopium coulterii
Taxonomic Authority
(Eigenmann & Eigenmann 1892)
Common Name(s)
Pygmy Whitefish
French Name
ménomini pygmée
Species Code
Family TSN
Parent TSN
Species TSN
Conservation Status
Global Rank (GRank)
G5 (2008-01-15)
National Rank (NRank)
N21, N1N22 (2017-12-22)
Provincial Rank (SRank)
SU (1997-10-10)
Threatened1, Data Deficient2 (Nov 2016)
SARO Status
Not at Risk1, Data Deficient2 (2017)
AFS Status
Status Notes
(1) Great Lakes-Upper St. Lawrence populations; (2) Saskatchewan-Nelson Rivers populations
Ecological Value
Ontario Origin
General Abundance
limited distribution
Economic Importance
Length-Weight Regression Coefficents
Intercept (a)
Slope (b)
Length Basis
Habitat and Feeding
General Habitat(s)
lacustrine; riverine
Trophic Class
Thermal Regime
Habitat Preference
cold, deep waters (18-90 m) of lakes, usually >30 m; preferred water temperature <10°C
Reproductive Guild
Nonguarders: Open substratum spawners: Lithophils
Spawning Habitat(s)
lacustrine; riverine
Spawning Season
Spawning Month(s)
Spawning Temperature (°C)
Nursery Habitat(s)
Size and Age
Adult Length (cm)
9.1-15.1 TL
Adult Weight (kg)
Age at Maturity (yrs)
2 (m); 3 (f)
Maximum Length (cm)
27.1 FL
Maximum Weight (kg)
Lifespan (yrs)
5-7 (m); 7-9 (f)
Ontario Records
Record Length (cm)
14.2 TL
Record Weight (kg)
Ontario Range Map
Pygmy Whitefish range
Ontario Distribution
Lake Superior, northwestern Ontario (Delaney Lake, Silver Lake, Winnange Lake, Mameigwess Lake) Saskatchewan - Nelson River basin
Pygmy Whitefish photograph
Pygmy Whitefish photograph
Lake Superior population discovered in 1952 is over 1,600 km outside the normal range (Pacific Northwest)
Information Sources
Coad, B.W. with H. Waszczuk and I. Labignan. 1995. Encyclopedia of Canadian fishes. Museum of Nature and Canadian Sportfishing Productions. Ottawa and Waterdown, ON. viii + 928 pp.
Coker, G.A., C.B. Portt, and C.K. Minns. 2001. Morphological and ecological characteristics of Canadian freshwater fishes. Can. MS Rpt. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 2554: iv + 89 p.
Ditz, K. and E. Holm. 2023. Ontario Fish Species Codes and Names. Ichthyology and Herpetology, Royal Ontario Museum. May 1994. Modified February 2023.
Holm, E., N. Mandrak, and M. Burridge. 2021. A field guide to freshwater fishes of Ontario, second edition. Royal Ontario Museum Science Publication. Toronto, ON. 486 pp.
Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS). 2023. On-line database., retrieved 02 May 2023.
Jelks, H.L., S.J. Walsh, N.M. Burkhead, S. Contreras-Balderas, E. D?az-Pardo, D.A. Hendrickson, J. Lyons, N.E. Mandrak, F. McCormick, J.S. Nelson, S.P. Platania, B.A. Porter, C.B. Renaud, J. J. Schmitter-Soto, E.B. Taylor, and M.L. Warren, Jr. 2008. Conservation status of imperiled North American freshwater and diadromous fishes. Fisheries 33(8):372-407.
Lee, D.S., C.R. Gilbert, C.H. Hocutt, R.E. Jenkins, D.E. McAllister, and J.R. Stauffer, Jr. 1980. Atlas of North American freshwater fishes. North Carolina State Museum of Natural History Publication 1980-12. Raleigh, NC. x + 867 pp.
MacKay, H.H. 1963. Fishes of Ontario. Ontario Department of Lands and Forests. The Bryant Press Limited. Toronto, ON. 300 pp.
Mandrak, N.E. and E.J. Crossman. 1992. A checklist of Ontario freshwater fishes annotated with distribution maps. Royal Ontario Museum Life Sciences Miscellaneous Publication. Toronto, ON. v + 176 pp.
McAllister, D.E., B.J. Parker, and P.M. McKee. 1985. Rare, endangered and extinct fishes in Canada. Syllogeus 54. National Museum of Natural Sciences. Ottawa, ON. 192 pp.
NatureServe. 2023. NatureServe Network Biodiversity Location Data accessed through NatureServe Explorer [web application]. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia. Available (Accessed: February 2, 2023).
Ontario Federation of Anglers & Hunters (OFAH). 2022. OFAH Ontario record fish registry. November 14, 2022.
Parker, B. and C. Brousseau. 1988. Status of the Aurora Trout, Salvelinus fontinalis timagamiensis, a distinct stock endemic to Canada. Can. Field-Nat. 102(1):87-91.
Scott, W.B. 1967. Freshwater fishes of eastern Canada, second edition. University of Toronto Press. Toronto, ON. xii + 137 pp.
Scott, W.B. and E.J. Crossman. 1973. Freshwater fishes of Canada. Bull. Fish. Res. Board Can. 184. [1998 Reprint] Galt House Publications Ltd. Oakville, ON. xx + 966 pp.
Scharpf, C. 2006. Annotated checklist of North American freshwater fishes, including subspecies and undescribed forms. Part II: Catostomidae through Mugilidae. American Currents 32(4):1-39.
Snucins, E. and J. Gunn. 2000. Update COSEWIC status report on the Aurora Trout Salvelinus fontinalis timagamiensis in Canada, in COSEWIC assessment and update status report on the Aurora Trout Salvelinus fontinalis timagamiensis in Canada. Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada. Ottawa. 1-13 pp.