Lota lota
Lota lota
Native Transplant
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Lota lota (Linnaeus, 1758)

Common name: Burbot

Synonyms and Other Names: ling, freshwater codfish, eelpout

Taxonomy: available through www.itis.govITIS logo

Identification: Scott and Crossman (1973); Becker (1983); Smith (1985); Page and Burr (1991).

Size: 84 cm.

Native Range: Throughout Canada, Alaska, and northern United States (south to Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Missouri, Wyoming, and Oregon); also in northern Eurasia (Page and Burr 1991). However, Lee et al. (1980) do not depict any collections from the Pacific Northwest.

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Alaska auto-generated map
Hawaii auto-generated map
Caribbean auto-generated map
Puerto Rico &
Virgin Islands
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Guam Saipan
Native range data for this species provided in part by NatureServe NS logo
Interactive maps: Point Distribution Maps

Nonindigenous Occurrences: Whitworth (1996) refers to Burbots as introduced in Connecticut and reported introductions as early as 1844. Goode (1884) reported the Burbot from the Connecticut River; however, Webster (1942) did not list the species in the state. Collections made in recent years have been from only two drainages. He noted that the only viable population is in the Hollenbeck River of the Housatonic drainage. Lee et al. (1980 et seq.) showed collections both here and in the Connecticut River, which is presumably the second drainage to which Whitworth was referring. This species is also established in the Chesapeake Bay drainage, Maryland (Burr and Page 1986). Burbots have been stocked and are established in New Jersey; they were first listed for the state in 1920, although the date of initial introduction is not known (Fowler 1920, 1952; Stiles 1978). Burbots were also introduced into Ohio outside their native range, including Buckeye Lake, stocked during the period 1915 to 1930 with fish caught in Lake Erie, and at least one pay-fishing lake in Tuscarawas County, apparently stocked during the 1960s (Trautman 1981). Specimens were collected from several sites in Ohio during the 1960s, including the Little Miami River in Hamilton County, the Stillwater River in Miami County, and the Great Miami River; these fish may have been introduced into or possibly represent strays from the upper Mississippi River (Trautman 1981). Hocutt et al. (1986) reported this species as introduced into the Muskingum drainage in Ohio. Burr and Page (1986) reported it as possibly introduced into the Ohio River proper, the Little Miami, Licking, Great Miami, Kentucky, and Wabash drainages in Ohio, Kentucky, Illinois and Indiana. Etnier and Starnes (1993) reported a single specimen from the Hatchie River in Tennessee. If one believes they are introduced into the Ohio drainage rather than native, then this may also be an introduction. Or it may be a waif from native populations in the upper Mississippi.  They are established in the Flaming Gorge Reservoir in Utah and Wyoming (R. Keith, Wyoming Game and Fish, pers. comm.).  Although Burbot are native to the Missouri River Basin in northern Wyoming, they have been illegally stocked in the Green River and are competing with native trout and could possible invade the Colorado River Basin, Big Sandy Basin, and through the Green River.

Means of Introduction: Intentionally stocked legally and illegally for sport fishing.

Status: Established in Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, New Jersey, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

Impact of Introduction: Competition with and predation by nonnative species (i.e., Catostomus sp., creek chub Semotilus atromaculatus, redside shiner Richardsonius balteatus, Burbot Lota lota, brown trout Salmo trutta, and lake trout Salvelinus namaycush) limit populations of the rare bluehead sucker Catostomus discobolus (Wyoming Game and Fish Department 2010).

Remarks: Hocutt et al. (1986) reported this species as possibly introduced into the Susquehanna drainage. Goode (1884) reported a single collection from the Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania. Cooper (1983) and Smith (1985) mention relict populations in the upper Susquehanna in New York. The Pennsylvania record may be a native. It seems likely that the Ohio River and its tributaries represent native range rather than introductions.

References: (click for full references)

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

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

Cooper, E.L. 1983. Fishes of Pennsylvania and the Northeastern United States. Pennsylvania State University Press, University Park, PA.

Etnier, D.A., and W.C. Starnes. 1993. The Fishes of Tennessee. The University of Tennessee Press, Knoxville, TN.

Fowler, H. W. 1920. A list of the fishes of New Jersey. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington 33:139-170.

Fowler, H. W. 1952. A list of the fishes of New Jersey, with off-shore species. Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia CIV:89-151.

Goode, G.B. 1884. The Fisheries and Fish Industries of the United States. Section I: natural history of useful aquatic animals. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC.

Hocutt, C.H., R.E. Jenkins, and J.R. Stauffer, Jr. 1986. Zoogeography of the fishes of the central Appalachians and central Atlantic coastal plain. Pages 161-212 in Hocutt, C.H., and E.O. Wiley, eds. The zoogeography of North American freshwater fishes. John Wiley and Sons. New York, NY.

Lee, D. S., C. R. Gilbert, C. H. Hocutt, R. E. Jenkins, D. E. McAllister, and J. R. Stauffer, Jr. 1980 et seq. Atlas of North American freshwater fishes. North Carolina State Museum of Natural History, Raleigh, NC.

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.

Scott, W.B., and E.J. Crossman. 1973. Freshwater Fishes of Canada. Volume 184. Fish. Res. Bd. Canada Bull.

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

Stiles, E. W. 1978. Vertebrates of New Jersey. Edmund W. Stiles, Somerset, NJ.

Trautman, M. B. 1981. The fishes of Ohio. Ohio State University Press, Columbus, OH.

Webster, D.A. 1941. The life histories of some Connecticut fishes. Pages 122-227 in A fishery survey of important Connecticut lakes. Bulletin 63. State Geological and Natural History Survey of Connecticut, Department of Environmental Protection, Hartford, CT.

Whitworth, W. R. 1996. Freshwater Fishes of Connecticut. State Geological and Natural History Survey of Connecticut, Bulletin 114.

Wyoming Game and Fish Department. 2010. Wyoming State Wildlife Action Plan - 2010. Wyoming Game and Fish Department, Cheyenne, WY. Online at http://gf.state.wy.us/SWAP2010/Plan/index.asp.

Other Resources:
Distribution in Illinois - Illinois Natural History Survey

FishBase Summary

Author: Fuller, P.

Revision Date: 9/17/2014

Peer Review Date: 4/1/2016

Citation Information:
Fuller, P., 2018, Lota lota (Linnaeus, 1758): U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx?speciesID=698, Revision Date: 9/17/2014, Peer Review Date: 4/1/2016, Access Date: 3/24/2018

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.

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Citation information: U.S. Geological Survey. [2018]. Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Gainesville, Florida. Accessed [3/24/2018].

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