CLASS: Cultus Pygmy Sculpin pdf document
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CULTUS LAKE’S VERY OWN FISH
Nowhere else in the world can you find the Cultus Pygmy Sculpin. This little fish is a SARA (Species At Risk Act) listed species.

No Beauty Contest Winner
The Cultus Pygmy Sculpin is about 5 cm (~2in) long and looks like a larva or a juvenile sculpin. The fish runs brown to grey on top, has dark blotches and is more or less white on the bottom. Spawning males are darker coloured and boast an orange band on the first dorsal fin. The species has a large head, heavy body and a variety of fins.

Due to its limited range and isolation, the Cultus pygmy sculpin is highly vulnerable to change. The introduction of non-native species to Cultus Lake in particular may pose a threat. The sculpin also has native predators, most notably the Dolly Varden (Salvelinus malma) which also lives in the lake’s deep waters.
pygmy sculpin : cultus lake

This diminutive member of the family Cottidae (“sculpins”), sometimes referred to as “bullheads” is part of a group of fishes usually associated with freshwater or marine benthic (substrate) habitats. Cultus Pygmy Sculpin, also referred to as “Cultus Lake” Sculpin has been classified as a dwarf version of the more common Coastrange Sculpin (C. aleuticus), but recent DNA work suggests it is likely a separate species.
Cultus Pygmy Sculpin : South Coast Conservation Program website
cultus pygmy sculpin size

Identification of Critical Habitat
This paper makes recommendation for the identification of critical habitat for the SARA listed, Coastrange Sculpin (Cultus Population), based on best available information. Coastrange Sculpin (Cultus Population), Cottus aleuticus, informally recognized as Cultus Pygmy Sculpin, is a neotenic form of the Coastrange Sculpin and found only in Cultus Lake in the southwestern corner of British Columbia, Canada. The recommendation of critical habitat satisfies the species recovery goal – “to ensure the long-term viability of the population in the wild.” …

When critical habitat is identified, examples of “Activities Likely to Destroy Critical Habitat (ALTD CH)” should also be provided per requirements from SARA. This establishes a baseline to identify and communicate to Canadian public about the activities that are likely to cause critical habitat destruction.
Threats include:
  • Invasive Species (both fish, and aquatic plantlife);
  • Altered Predation Rates;
  • Land Use, Water Use, and Lake Water Quality;
  • Potential Contaminants.