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Coregonus clupeaformis  (Mitchill, 1818)

Lake whitefish
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| Native range | All suitable habitat | PointMap | Year 2100 |
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Coregonus clupeaformis   AquaMaps   Data sources: GBIF OBIS
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Image of Coregonus clupeaformis (Lake whitefish)
Coregonus clupeaformis
Picture by Scarola, J.F.

Classification / Names Common names | Synonyms | Catalog of Fishes (gen., sp.) | ITIS | CoL | WoRMS | Cloffa

Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Salmoniformes (Salmons) > Salmonidae (Salmonids) > Coregoninae
Etymology: Coregonus: Greek, kore = pupils of the eye + Greek, gonia = angle (Ref. 45335);  clupeaformis: clupeaformis meaning herring-shaped (Ref. 1998).

Environment / Climate / Range Ecology

Freshwater; brackish; demersal; anadromous (Ref. 51243); depth range 18 - 128 m (Ref. 3849).   Temperate; 71°N - 40°N

Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age

Maturity: Lm 25.7  range ? - ? cm
Max length : 100.0 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 9988); common length : 54.1 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 12193); max. published weight: 19.0 kg (Ref. 28850); max. reported age: 50 years (Ref. 3494)

Short description Morphology | Morphometrics

Dorsal spines (total): 0; Dorsal soft rays (total): 11-13; Anal spines: 0; Anal soft rays: 10 - 14; Vertebrae: 55 - 64. Adipose fin well developed, often larger in males; axillary process present in pelvic fins (Ref. 27547). Dark brown to midnight blue above fading to silver on sides and wide beneath; no parr marks in young (Ref. 27547).

Distribution Countries | FAO areas | Ecosystems | Occurrences | Point map | Introductions | Faunafri

North America: throughout Alaska and most of Canada south into New England, the Great Lakes basin, and central Minnesota. This species was stocked into high Andean lakes in two countries in southern Latin America (Ref. 1739). Probably conspecific with Coregonus lavaretus (Ref. 7506). Belongs to Coregonus clupeaformis complex (Ref. 27547).

Biology     Glossary (e.g. epibenthic)

Primarily a lake dweller (Ref. 27547). Also found in large rivers and enters brackish water (Ref. 5723). Nerito-pelagic (Ref. 58426). Appears to be rather sedentary, at least in the Great Lakes (Ref. 27547). Movement in large lakes generally consists of 4 stages: movement from deep to shallow water in the spring; movement back to deep water in the summer as the shoal water warms; migration to shallow-water spawning areas in the fall and early winter; and post-spawning movement back to deeper water (Ref. 27547). Forms separate populations in large lakes (Ref. 27547). Adults feed mainly on aquatic insect larvae, mollusks and amphipods (Ref. 1091, 3849), but also other fishes and fish eggs, including their own (Ref. 1998). Extensive hatchery programs for the propagation have been carried out on the Great Lakes and other areas for years (Ref. 3746, 3849). Valued for its meat as well as for its roe, which is made into an excellent caviar; utilized fresh, smoked, and frozen; eaten steamed, fried, broiled, boiled, microwaved, and baked (Ref. 9988).

Life cycle and mating behavior Maturity | Reproduction | Spawning | Eggs | Fecundity | Larvae

Spawning occurs at night (Ref. 10242, 10344, 28849). A female and one or more males rise to the surface, release eggs and milt and descend separately toward the bottom (Ref. 27547). Spawning fish are very active and may leap completely out of the water (Ref. 1998). Breeds annually in the southern parts of the range, but only every other year or even every third year in the arctic and sub-arctic regions (Ref. 3757).

Main reference Upload your references | References | Coordinator | Collaborators

Scott, W.B. and E.J. Crossman, 1973. Freshwater fishes of Canada. Bull. Fish. Res. Board Can. 184:1-966. (Ref. 1998)

IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 96402)

CITES (Ref. 94142)

Not Evaluated

Threat to humans

  Harmless




Human uses

Fisheries: commercial; gamefish: yes; aquarium: public aquariums
FAO(fisheries: production, species profile; publication : search) | FisheriesWiki | Sea Around Us

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Estimates of some properties based on models

Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805):  PD50 = 0.5000   [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.00562 (0.00473 - 0.00668), b=3.21 (3.17 - 3.25), based on LWR estimates for this species (Ref. 93245).
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278):  3.1   ±0.4 se; Based on diet studies.
Resilience (Ref. 69278):  Low, minimum population doubling time 4.5 - 14 years (K=0.06-0.19; tmax=50).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153):  Moderate to high vulnerability (48 of 100) .
Price category (Ref. 80766):   Very high.