The Nonindigenous Occurrences section of the NAS species profiles has a new structure. The section is now dynamically updated from the NAS database to ensure that it contains the most current and accurate information. Occurrences are summarized in Table 1, alphabetically by state, with years of earliest and most recent observations, and the tally and names of drainages where the species was observed. The table contains hyperlinks to collections tables of specimens based on the states, years, and drainages selected. References to specimens that were not obtained through sighting reports and personal communications are found through the hyperlink in the Table 1 caption or through the individual specimens linked in the collections tables.

Pungitius pungitius
Pungitius pungitius
(Ninespine Stickleback)
Native Transplant

Copyright Info
Pungitius pungitius (Linnaeus, 1758)

Common name: Ninespine Stickleback

Taxonomy: available through www.itis.govITIS logo

Identification: Scott and Crossman (1973); Becker (1983); Smith (1985); Page and Burr (1991). There are two recognizable forms of this species; a coastal form and an inland form. However, they have not yet been formally recognized as subspecies (Page and Burr 1991).

Size: 9 cm.

Native Range: Arctic and Atlantic drainages across Canada and Alaska, and as far south as New Jersey; Pacific Coast of Alaska; Great Lakes basin. Also in Eurasia (Page and Burr 1991). Whittier collected it in the Penobscot drainage of Maine (T. Whittier, pers. comm.).

Native range data for this species provided in part by NatureServe NS logo
Hydrologic Unit Codes (HUCs) Explained
Interactive maps: Point Distribution Maps

Nonindigenous Occurrences:

Table 1. States with nonindigenous occurrences, the earliest and latest observations in each state, and the tally and names of HUCs with observations†. Names and dates are hyperlinked to their relevant specimen records. The list of references for all nonindigenous occurrences of Pungitius pungitius are found here.

StateFirst ObservedLast ObservedTotal HUCs with observations†HUCs with observations†
CO199319981South Platte
IL197919792Des Plaines; Upper Illinois
IN196619992Little Calumet-Galien; Tippecanoe
MO189218921Upper Mississippi-Salt

Table last updated 9/28/2023

† Populations may not be currently present.

Means of Introduction: Possible bait bucket release in Colorado. Canal connection in Illinois; the Chicago Shipping and Sanitary Canal connects Lake Michigan to the Illinois River.

Status: Reported from Colorado and Illinois. Smith (1979) stated that there was no evidence of reproduction outside of Lake Michigan in Illinois.

Impact of Introduction: The impacts of this species are currently unknown, as no studies have been done to determine how it has affected ecosystems in the invaded range. The absence of data does not equate to lack of effects. It does, however, mean that research is required to evaluate effects before conclusions can be made.

Remarks: Page and Laird (1993) and Laird and Page (1996) did not mention the presence of this species in Illinois.

Many voucher specimens deposited at UMMZ and JFBM.

References: (click for full references)

Becker, G. C. 1983. Fishes of Wisconsin. University of Wisconsin Press, Madison, WI.

Burr, B. M., and L. M. Page. 1986. Zoogeography of fishes of the lower Ohio-upper Mississippi basin. Pages 287-324 in C. H. Hocutt, and E. O. Wiley, editors. The Zoogeography of North American Freshwater Fishes. John Wiley and Sons, New York, NY.

Page, L. M., and B. M. Burr. 1991. A field guide to freshwater fishes of North America north of Mexico. The Peterson Field Guide Series, volume 42. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, MA.

Pflieger, W. L. 1997. The fishes of Missouri. Missouri Department of Conservation, Jefferson City, MO. 372 pp.

Rasmussen, J.L. 1998. Aquatic nuisance species of the Mississippi River basin. 60th Midwest Fish and Wildlife Conference, Aquatic Nuisance Species Symposium, Dec. 7, 1998, Cincinnati, OH.

Scott, W. B., and E. J. Crossman. 1973. Freshwater Fishes of Canada. Fisheries Research Board of Canada, Bulletin 184. Ottawa. 966 pp.

Smith, C. L. 1985. The inland fishes of New York state. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Albany, NY. 522 pp.

Smith, P. W. 1979. The fishes of Illinois. University of Illinois Press, Urbana, IL.

Tilmant, J.T. 1999. Management of nonindigenous aquatic fish in the U.S. National Park System. National Park Service. 50 pp.

Walker, P. - Colorado Division of Wildlife, Brush, CO.

Other Resources:
Distribution in Illinois - ILNHS

FishBase Summary

Author: Fuller, P.

Revision Date: 6/29/2023

Peer Review Date: 8/6/2004

Citation Information:
Fuller, P., 2023, Pungitius pungitius (Linnaeus, 1758): U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx?SpeciesID=704, Revision Date: 6/29/2023, Peer Review Date: 8/6/2004, Access Date: 9/28/2023

This information is preliminary or provisional and is subject to revision. It is being provided to meet the need for timely best science. The information has not received final approval by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and is provided on the condition that neither the USGS nor the U.S. Government shall be held liable for any damages resulting from the authorized or unauthorized use of the information.


The data represented on this site vary in accuracy, scale, completeness, extent of coverage and origin. It is the user's responsibility to use these data consistent with their intended purpose and within stated limitations. We highly recommend reviewing metadata files prior to interpreting these data.

Citation information: U.S. Geological Survey. [2023]. Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Gainesville, Florida. Accessed [9/28/2023].

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