Lota lota - (Linnaeus, 1758)
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Lota lota (Linnaeus, 1758) (TSN 164725)
French Common Names: lotte
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.101577
Element Code: AFCMA01010
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Fishes - Bony Fishes - Other Bony Fishes
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Actinopterygii Gadiformes Gadidae Lota
Check this box to expand all report sections:
Concept Reference
Concept Reference: Robins, C.R., R.M. Bailey, C.E. Bond, J.R. Brooker, E.A. Lachner, R.N. Lea, and W.B. Scott. 1991. Common and scientific names of fishes from the United States and Canada. American Fisheries Society, Special Publication 20. 183 pp.
Concept Reference Code: B91ROB01NAUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Lota lota
Taxonomic Comments: The only freshwater member of the family (Nelson 1984).
Conservation Status

NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 17Aug2015
Global Status Last Changed: 20Sep1996
Ranking Methodology Used: Ranked by inspection
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Nation: United States
National Status: N5 (05Dec1996)
Nation: Canada
National Status: N5 (17Aug2015)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
United States Alaska (S5), Connecticut (S1), Idaho (S1), Illinois (S1S2), Indiana (S2), Iowa (S3), Kansas (SNA), Kentucky (S2), Maine (S4), Massachusetts (S1), Michigan (S4), Montana (S4), Nebraska (SH), New Hampshire (S5), New York (S3), North Dakota (SNR), Ohio (S3), Oregon (SNR), Pennsylvania (S3), South Dakota (S5), Vermont (S3S4), Washington (S3), Wisconsin (S5), Wyoming (S3S4)
Canada Alberta (S5), British Columbia (S4), Labrador (S5), Manitoba (S5), New Brunswick (S5), Northwest Territories (S5), Nunavut (S4S5), Ontario (S5), Quebec (S5), Saskatchewan (S5), Yukon Territory (S5)

Other Statuses

IUCN Red List Category: LC - Least concern

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: Widely distributed in both hemispheres south to about 40 degrees north latitude (south to Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Missouri, Wyoming, and Oregon).

Number of Occurrences:  
Number of Occurrences Comments: This species is represented by a large number of subpopulations and locations.

Population Size Comments: Total adult population size is unknown but relatively large.

Overall Threat Impact Comments: Localized threats may exist, but on a range-wide scale no major threats are known.

Short-term Trend Comments: Trend over the past 10 years or three generations is uncertain but likely relatively stable or slowly declining.

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Global Range: Widely distributed in both hemispheres south to about 40 degrees north latitude (south to Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Missouri, Wyoming, and Oregon).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces
Color legend for Distribution Map
Endemism: occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AK, CT, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, MA, ME, MI, MT, ND, NE, NH, NY, OH, OR, PA, SD, VT, WA, WI, WY
Canada AB, BC, LB, MB, NB, NT, NU, ON, QC, SK, YT

Range Map
No map available.

U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
CT Hartford (09003), Litchfield (09005)
IA Allamakee (19005), Clayton (19043), Jackson (19097), Winneshiek (19191)
KY Boone (21015)*, Hardin (21093), Harrison (21097)*, Henry (21103)*, Jefferson (21111), Livingston (21139), McCracken (21145), Meade (21163)*, Nicholas (21181)*, Owen (21187)*, Pendleton (21191), Robertson (21201)*
MA Berkshire (25003)*, Franklin (25011), Hampden (25013), Hampshire (25015)
OH Ashtabula (39007), Hamilton (39061)*, Montgomery (39113)*, Ottawa (39123)*
PA Erie (42049), McKean (42083), Potter (42105), Warren (42123)
WY Fremont (56013)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
01 Upper St. John (01010001), Allagash (01010002), Fish (01010003), Aroostook (01010004), West Branch Penobscot (01020001), East Branch Penobscot (01020002), Lower Penobscot (01020005), Upper Kennebec (01030001), Lower Kennebec (01030003), Upper Androscoggin (01040001), St. Croix (01050001), Presumpscot (01060001), Saco (01060002), Merrimack (01070002), Upper Connecticut (01080101), Passumpsic (01080102), Waits (01080103), White (01080105), Middle Connecticut (01080201)+, Lower Connecticut (01080205)+, Housatonic (01100005)+, St. Francois (01110000)
02 Otter (02010002), Winooski (02010003), Ausable (02010004), Lamoille (02010005), Great Chazy-Saranac (02010006)*, Missisquoi (02010007), Upper Susquehanna (02050101), Chenango (02050102)
04 St. Louis (04010201), Beartrap-Nemadji (04010301), Bad-Montreal (04010302), Black-Presque Isle (04020101), Ontonagon (04020102), Keweenaw Peninsula (04020103), Dead-Kelsey (04020105), Betsy-Chocolay (04020201), Tahquamenon (04020202), Lake Superior (04020300), Door-Kewaunee (04030102), Duck-Pensaukee (04030103), Oconto (04030104), Peshtigo (04030105), Menominee (04030108), Fishdam-Sturgeon (04030112), Upper Fox (04030201), Wolf (04030202), Lake Winnebago (04030203), Lower Fox (04030204), Little Calumet-Galien (04040001), Pike-Root (04040002)*, Pere Marquette-White (04060101), Muskegon (04060102), Betsie-Platte (04060104), Boardman-Charlevoix (04060105), Manistique (04060106), Brevoort-Millecoquins (04060107), Lake Michigan (04060200), Lone Lake-Ocqueoc (04070003), Thunder Bay (04070006), Au Gres-Rifle (04080101), Kawkawlin-Pine (04080102), Pigeon-Wiscoggin (04080103), Lake St. Clair (04090002), Cedar-Portage (04100010)+*, Huron-Vermilion (04100012)*, Black-Rocky (04110001), Ashtabula-Chagrin (04110003)+, Chautauqua-Conneaut (04120101)+, Lake Erie (04120200)+, Salmon-Sandy (04140102)*, Seneca (04140201), Oneida (04140202), Lake Ontario (04150200), Upper St. Lawrence (04150301), Indian (04150303), Raquette (04150305)*, St. Regis (04150306)
05 Upper Allegheny (05010001)+, Conewango (05010002), Upper Great Miami (05080001)+, Lower Great Miami (05080002), Ohio Brush-Whiteoak (05090201)+, Little Miami (05090202)+, Middle Ohio-Laughery (05090203)+, Licking (05100101)+, Lower Kentucky (05100205)+, Middle Wabash-Busseron (05120111)*, Silver-Little Kentucky (05140101)+, Salt (05140102)+, Blue-Sinking (05140104)+, Lower Ohio-Bay (05140203)+, Lower Ohio (05140206)+
06 Lower Tennessee (06040006)+
07 Rum (07010207), Upper St. Croix (07030001), Namekagon (07030002), Lower St. Croix (07030005), Rush-Vermillion (07040001), Buffalo-Whitewater (07040003), La Crosse-Pine (07040006), Black (07040007), Upper Chippewa (07050001), Flambeau (07050002), South Fork Flambeau (07050003), Jump (07050004), Lower Chippewa (07050005), Eau Claire (07050006), Red Cedar (07050007), Coon-Yellow (07060001)+, Upper Iowa (07060002)+, Grant-Little Maquoketa (07060003)+, Turkey (07060004)+, Apple-Plum (07060005)+, Upper Wisconsin (07070001), Lake Dubay (07070002), Castle Rock (07070003), Lower Wisconsin (07070005), Kickapoo (07070006), Copperas-Duck (07080101), Upper Rock (07090001), The Sny (07110004)*, Chicago (07120003)*, Lower Illinois-Lake Chautauqua (07130003), Lower Illinois (07130011)*
09 Upper Red (09020104), Grand Marais-Red (09020306), Turtle (09020307), Rainy Headwaters (09030001), Rapid (09030007), Lower Rainy (09030008), Lake of the Woods (09030009)
10 Belly (10010001), St. Mary (10010002), Red Rock (10020001), Beaverhead (10020002), Ruby (10020003), Big Hole (10020004), Jefferson (10020005), Madison (10020007), Upper Missouri (10030101), Upper Missouri-Dearborn (10030102), Smith (10030103), Sun (10030104), Two Medicine (10030201), Cut Bank (10030202), Marias (10030203), Teton (10030205), Bullwhacker-Dog (10040101), Judith (10040103), Fort Peck Reservoir (10040104), Middle Milk (10050004), Lower Milk (10050012), Prarie Elk-Wolf (10060001), Poplar (10060003), Charlie-Little Muddy (10060005), Big Muddy (10060006), Upper Yellowstone (10070002), Upper Yellowstone-Lake Basin (10070004), Clarks Fork Yellowstone (10070006), Upper Yellowstone-Pompeys Pillar (10070007), Lower Wind (10080005)+, Big Horn Lake (10080010), Lower Bighorn (10080015), Lower Tongue (10090102), Lower Powder (10090209), Lower Yellowstone-Sunday (10100001), Lower Yellowstone (10100004), Lake Sakakawea (10110101), Lower Little Missouri (10110205), Painted Woods-Square Butte (10130101), Upper Lake Oahe (10130102), Lewis and Clark Lake (10170101), Blackbird-Soldier (10230001), Little Sioux (10230003)*, Big Papillion-Mosquito (10230006), Nishnabotna (10240004), Tarkio-Wolf (10240005), Big Nemaha (10240008), Independence-Sugar (10240011), Lower Kansas (10270104), Lower Missouri-Crooked (10300101)*, Lower Missouri-Moreau (10300102)*
17 Upper Kootenai (17010101), Lower Kootenai (17010104), Lower Clark Fork (17010213), Pend Oreille (17010216), Franklin D. Roosevelt Lake (17020001), Sanpoil (17020004), Similkameen (17020007), Lake Chelan (17020009), Banks Lake (17020014), Upper Yakima (17030001), Lemhi (17060204)
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed (based on multiple information sources) Help
Ecology & Life History
Reproduction Comments: Spawns mainly in winter in North America. Eggs hatch in about a month. Individuals spawn annually or in alternate years. Usually sexually mature in 3-4 years (males) or 4-5 years (females) (see USFWS 2003).
Habitat Type: Freshwater
Non-Migrant: Y
Locally Migrant: Y
Long Distance Migrant: N
Mobility and Migration Comments: May move long distances between spawning and nonspawning habitats (usually 1 to 25 km, but up to 120 km in the Kootenai River) (see USFWS 2003). May move from lake into stream to spawn (Scott and Crossman 1973). Basically sedentary during nonspawning season.
Riverine Habitat(s): BIG RIVER, MEDIUM RIVER, Moderate gradient
Lacustrine Habitat(s): Deep water, Shallow water
Special Habitat Factors: Benthic
Habitat Comments: Common in deep (to at least 90 m) cold waters of lakes, reservoirs, and large rivers. In summer, stays in deep cold waters but may move into shallower water at night. Life history may be confined to lakes or rivers or may migrate between lake and riverine habitats; all three patterns may occur within a single river basin. Often exhibits a post-spawning movement into tributary rivers in late winter and early spring. Spawns usually in lakes but may move into rivers to spawn. River-spawning populations prefer low-velocity areas in main channels or in side channels behind deposition bars (see USFWS 2003). Broadcasts eggs usually over sand or gravel (sometimes silt) in up to about 10 ft of water (Scott and Crossman 1973).
Adult Food Habits: Invertivore, Piscivore
Immature Food Habits: Invertivore, Piscivore
Food Comments: Young eat mainly immature aquatic insects, crayfish, molluscs, and other deepwater invertebrates. Larger individuals feed mostly on fishes (Becker 1983, Scott and Crossman 1973).
Adult Phenology: Nocturnal
Immature Phenology: Nocturnal
Length: 84 centimeters
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
Management Summary Not yet assessed
Population/Occurrence Delineation
Use Class: Not applicable
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Occurrences are based on evidence of historical presence, or current and likely recurring presence, at a given location. Such evidence minimally includes collection or reliable observation and documentation of one or more individuals (including eggs and larvae) in appropriate habitat.
Separation Barriers: Dam lacking a suitable fishway; high waterfall; upland habitat.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 10 km
Separation Justification: Separation distance is arbitrary. Because of the difficulty in defining suitable versus unsuitable habitat, especially with respect to dispersal, and to simplify the delineation of occurrences, a single separation distance is used regardless of habitat quality.
Date: 25Jun2001
Author: Hammerson, G.
Population/Occurrence Viability
U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 05Jan2004
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Hammerson, G.

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

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  • Atton, F.M. and J.J. Merkowsky. 1983. Atlas of Saskatchewan Fish. Saskatchewan Department of Parks and Renewable Resources, Fisheries Branch Technical Report 83-2. 281pp.

  • Bailey, M.M. 1972. Age, growth, reproduction and food of the burbot, Lota lota (Linnaeus), in southwestern Lake Superior. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 101(4):667-674.

  • Clemens, H.P. 1951a. The food of the burbot, Lota lota maculosa (LeSueur) in Lake Erie. Transactions of the American Fisheries Society 80(1951):163-173.

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  • Lawler, G. H. 1963. The biology and taxonomy of the burbot, Lota lota, in Heming Lake, Manitoba. Journal of the Fisheries Research Board of Canada 20(2):417-433.

  • Legendre, V. et J.F. Bergeron. 1977. Liste des poissons d' eau douce du Québec. MLCP, Service Aménage. Expl. Faune. Rap. dact. 6

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  • Page, L. M., H. Espinosa-Pérez, L. T. Findley, C. R. Gilbert, R. N. Lea, N. E. Mandrak, R. L. Mayden, and J. S. Nelson. 2013. Common and scientific names of fishes from the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Seventh edition. American Fisheries Society, Special Publication 34, Bethesda, Maryland.

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  • Page, L. M., and B. M. Burr. 2011. Peterson field guide to freshwater fishes of North America north of Mexico. Second edition. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Boston. xix + 663 pp.

  • Robins, C.R., R.M. Bailey, C.E. Bond, J.R. Brooker, E.A. Lachner, R.N. Lea, and W.B. Scott. 1991. Common and scientific names of fishes from the United States and Canada. American Fisheries Society, Special Publication 20. 183 pp.

  • Robins, C.R., and E.E. Deubler, Jr. 1955. The life history and systematic status of the burbot, Lota lota lacustris (Walbaum), in the Susquehanna River system. New York State Museum Circular 39:1-49.

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

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  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). 28 September 2001. 90-day finding and commencement of status review for a petition to list the lower Kootenai River burbot as threatened or endangered. Federal Register 66(189):49608-49611.

References for Watershed Distribution Map
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Citation for Bird Range Maps of North America:
Ridgely, R.S., T.F. Allnutt, T. Brooks, D.K. McNicol, D.W. Mehlman, B.E. Young, and J.R. Zook. 2003. Digital Distribution Maps of the Birds of the Western Hemisphere, version 1.0. NatureServe, Arlington, Virginia, USA.

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