Species Profile

Gravel Chub

Scientific Name: Erimystax x-punctatus
Taxonomy Group: Fishes
COSEWIC Range: Ontario
COSEWIC Assessment Date and Status Change: May 2019
COSEWIC Status: Extirpated
COSEWIC Status Criteria:
COSEWIC Reason for Designation: The historical Canadian range of this small minnow was originally a single watershed in southern Ontario. The most recent record for this species was in 1958 despite extensive, repeated sampling at known sites and other areas of suitable habitat over the last 60 years. Natural recolonization by the species is not possible because there are no adjacent populations in the Great Lakes watershed.
COSEWIC History of Status Designation: Last recorded in Thames River drainage, Ontario in 1958. Designated Endangered in April 1985. Status re-examined and designated Extirpated in April 1987. Status re-examined and confirmed in May 2000, April 2008, and May 2019.
SARA Status: Schedule 1, Extirpated
Date of Listing (yyyy-mm-dd): 2003-06-05

Please note that this information is provided for general information purposes only. For the most up to date and accurate list of species listed under the Species at Risk Act, please see the Justice Laws Website.

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Quick Links: | Photo | Description | Habitat | Biology | Reasons for extirpation | Protection | Recovery Initiatives | Recovery Team | National Recovery Program | Documents

Image of Gravel Chub

Gravel Chub Photo 1

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Description

The Gravel Chub is a small fish with large eyes and a small mouth overhung by a rounded snout. It has one dorsal fin, a forked caudal fin, a small anal fin, small pelvic fins and narrow pectoral fins. The back of the Gravel Chub is olive-green, its sides are silver with faint spots, and its under parts are silvery white. Gravel Chubs measure about 76 mm.

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Distribution and Population

In Canada, the Gravel Chub was found only in one river drainage of southwestern Ontario. All attempts to collect individuals of this species have been unsuccessful since the early 1970s.

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Habitat

The Gravel Chub inhabited rivers that have a permanent flow, that are clear to slightly turbid, and that have bottoms free of unconsolidated silts and clays.

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Biology

Very little is known about the biology of the Gravel Chub. Spawning occurs in early spring.

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Reasons for extirpation

The fact that the Gravel Chub prefers bottoms that are free of unconsolidated silts and clays limits its habitat availability. It is believed that habitat change, namely siltation and increased turbidity, were the main cause of the extirpation of this fish from Canada.

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Protection

Federal Protection

The Gravel Chub is protected under the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA). More information about SARA, including how it protects individual species, is available in the Species at Risk Act: A Guide.

Provincial and Territorial Protection

To know if this species is protected by provincial or territorial laws, consult the provinces' and territories' websites.

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Recovery Initiatives

Status of Recovery Planning

Recovery Strategies :

Name Recovery Strategy for Gravel Chub (Erimystax x-punctatus) in Canada
Status Final posting on SAR registry

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Recovery Team

Ontario Freshwater Fish Recovery Team

  • Amy Boyko - Chair/Contact - Fisheries and Oceans Canada
    Phone: 905-336-6236  Fax: 905-336-6437  Send Email
  • Shawn Staton - Chair/Contact - Fisheries and Oceans Canada
    Phone: 905-336-4864  Fax: 905-336-6437  Send Email

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Documents

PLEASE NOTE: Not all COSEWIC reports are currently available on the SARA Public Registry. Most of the reports not yet available are status reports for species assessed by COSEWIC prior to May 2002. Other COSEWIC reports not yet available may include those species assessed as Extinct, Data Deficient or Not at Risk. In the meantime, they are available on request from the COSEWIC Secretariat.

35 record(s) found.

Reports on the Progress of Recovery Document Implementation

  • Report on the Progress of Recovery Strategy Implementation for the Gravel Chub (Erimystax x-punctatus) in Canada for the Period 2008–2015 (2016-04-13)

    The Species at Risk Act requires the competent Minister to report on the implementation of the recovery strategy for a species at risk, and on the progress towards meeting its objectives within five years of the date when the recovery strategy was placed on the Species at Risk Public Registry. A great deal of effort, involving multiple approaches, has been expended over the timeframe from 2008 to 2015 within the Thames River to abate threats to historically occupied Gravel Chub habitat (e.g., siltation, nutrient loadings and toxic compounds). Protection and improvement of this watershed have been undertaken through the “Habitat Improvement and Stewardship” and “Habitat Protection and Management” recovery approaches identified in the recovery strategy for the Thames River Aquatic Ecosystem.

COSEWIC Status Reports

  • COSEWIC assessment and update status report on the Gravel Chub (Erimystax x-punctatus) in Canada (2008-08-28)

    The gravel chub is a slender, round-bodied minnow with an average length of 76 mm TL (Total Length) and a maximum length of approximately 100 mm TL. It is the only member of the genus Erimystax known to have existed in Canada.
  • COSEWIC Rapid Review of Classification on the Gravel Chub Erimystax x-punctatus in Canada (2019-12-16)

    The historical Canadian range of this small minnow was originally a single watershed in southern Ontario. The most recent record for this species was in 1958 despite extensive, repeated sampling at known sites and other areas of suitable habitat over the last 60 years. Natural recolonization by the species is not possible because there are no adjacent populations in the Great Lakes watershed. Note: This COSEWIC assessment was received by the Minister on October 15th, 2018.
  • COSEWIC Update Status Report on the Gravel Chub (Erimystax x-punctatus) in Canada (2000-05-31)

    The gravel chub, Hybopsis x-punctata, is extirpated in Canada. It had previously been reported only from the Thames River drainage of southern Ontario at the northeastern fringe of its North American range. The last record was in 1958 despite recent efforts to capture specimens. Siltation is the most likely factor affecting its distribution and survival. The gravel chub was not specifically protected in Canada, although general protection is afforded through the fish-habitat section of the Fisheries Act.

Response Statements

  • Response Statement - Gravel Chub (2008-11-26)

    The historic Canadian range of this small minnow was originally a single watershed in southern Ontario.  The last record for this species was in 1958 despite extensive, repeated sampling at known sites and other areas of suitable habitat over the last 50 years.  Ecosystem restoration of this watershed is underway; however, natural recolonization by the species is not possible because there are no adjacent populations in the Great Lakes watershed.
  • Response Statement - Gravel Chub (2020) (2020-01-07)

    The historical Canadian range of this small minnow was originally a single watershed in southern Ontario. The most recent record for this species was in 1958 despite extensive, repeated sampling at known sites and other areas of suitable habitat over the last 60 years. Natural recolonization by the species is not possible because there are no adjacent populations in the Great Lakes watershed.

Recovery Strategies

  • Recovery Strategy for Gravel Chub (Erimystax x-punctatus) in Canada (2008-02-27)

    The gravel chub (Erimystax x-punctatus) was last found in Canada in the Thames River drainage, Ontario, in 1958. The Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) designated this species as Endangered in 1985, and re-assessed it as Extirpated in 1987. This status was re-examined based on an existing status report and confirmed in 2000. The recovery of the gravel chub has been determined to be technically and biologically feasible. The gravel chub is a slender, round-bodied minnow with an average length of 76 mm TL and a maximum length of approximately 100 mm TL. It is olive-green dorsally with silvery sides and a white belly. The scale margins on the back and sides of the gravel chub are randomly outlined in black resulting in distinct X-, Y- or W-shaped patterns. A small black spot is usually predominant on the base of the caudal fin. The snout is rounded and long, overhanging the mouth, which has small but conspicuous barbels in each corner.

COSEWIC Annual Reports

  • COSEWIC Annual Report - 2007 - 2008 (2008-08-28)

    2008 Annual Report to the The Minister of the Environment and the Canadian Endangered Species Conservation Council (CESCC) from the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada.

Permits and Related Agreements

  • Explanation for issuing permit(#17-PCAA-00005), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2017-04-06)

    The purpose of the activity is early detection surveillance sampling for Asian carps. Sampling is planned for near shore and tributaries throughout the Canadian waters of the Great Lakes basin. A total of 36 early detection sites have been selected in the Great Lakes basin. Combinations of sampling gears are deployed at each site in order in target all life-stages of Asian carps. A community assessment of the fishes present in the areas is collected. Field sampling techniques include a combination of passive and active fish sampling gears. A combination of gear types has proven to be the most effective method for detecting the majority of fishes in a specific habitat type.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#20-PCAA-00036 ), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2020-07-23)

    The objectives of the activities covered by the permit are to conduct fish community surveys in the lower Thames River and its tributaries, within the jurisdiction of the Lower Thames River Conservation Authority, in Ontario. The species listed on the permit may be captured incidentally during this work. The activities authorized by the permit consist of: 1. The capture of the species listed on the permit via seining (fishes) and quadrat/visual surveys (mussels), from the lower Thames River watershed; 2. The handling of the species listed on the permit for the purposes of identification (count, measure, and photograph). With the exception of vouchers that may be retained to confirm identification, all fishes will be released alive after processing. Any mussels captured will be released alive at the location of capture; and, 3. The possession and transport of the species listed on this permit killed incidentally as a result of sampling and/or processing or for vouchering purposes (fishes only).
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#21-PCAA-00022 ), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2021-05-05)

    The objectives of the activities covered by the permit include: 1. Conducting fish and mussel community surveys within locations in the lower Thames River watershed (from Delaware, ON, to the mouth), lower Thames River tributaries, Rondeau Bay and tributaries, McGeachy Pond, Lake Erie tributaries (between Two Creeks and Talbot Creek), and Lake St. Clair tributaries (between the mouth of the Thames River to Boyle Drain); and, 2. To conduct targeted seining surveys for Eastern Sand Darter (Ammocrypta pellucida) (Ontario populations) within the Thames River. The 19 species at risk (SAR) listed on the permit may be captured incidentally during this work. The activities authorized by the permit consist of: 1. The capture of the species listed on this permit via seining (fishes) and quadrat or visual surveys (mussels), from the locations listed previously; 2. The handling of the species listed on the permit for the purposes of identification (count, measure, and photograph). With the exception of vouchers that may be retained to confirm identification, all fishes will be released alive after processing. Any mussels captured will be released alive at the location of capture; and, 3. The possession and transport of the species listed on the permit killed incidentally as a result of sampling and/or processing, or for vouchering purposes.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#DFO-15-PCAA-00006), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2015-04-07)

    The objective of the research is to conduct a comprehensive aquatic invasive fish species monitoring, with a focus on Asian carps, in the Great Lakes basin. These Aquatic Invasive Surveys (AIS) will yield significant information to contribute to the early detection of AIS in Ontario. This research will also include assessing current geographic distribution and habitat associations of AIS fishes in Ontario.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#DFO-15-PCAA-00014), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2015-05-27)

    The activities consist of: Project #1: Evaluation of habitat use by, and effects of drain maintenance on Pugnose Minnow and Blackstripe Topminnow in agricultural drains. Seining and mini-pelagic trawling surveys will be conducted to determine the distribution and abundances of species at risk fish. All sampling will occur within Little Bear Creek and Maxwell Creek watershed. This is the third year of sampling for a multi-year project. Project #2: Survey to determine spawning habitat of Spotted Gar in Rondeau Bay, Ontario. Analyses since 2009 have revealed genetic variation within the Spotted Gar population in Rondeau Bay. This variation may be attributed to spawning site fidelity. This project will tag individual Spotted Gar immediately before spawning. This will allow researchers to track them during pre-spawn conditions and determine if there is site fidelity in this population. Project #3: Assessment of Round Goby invasion into the Thames River, Ontario. The objective is to complete a systematic survey of the lower Thames River between Wardsville and Chatham. The research will be very useful in helping DFO staff to develop strategies to deal with this invasive species and its impacts on species at risk fish. Project #4: River Redhorse surveys in support of COSEWIC status assessment. The objective is to resample historical collection sites not sampled since 2000/2001 in the Ottawa valley. Surveys will focus on the Mississippi River and Madawaska River.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#DFO-16-PCAA-00004), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2016-04-01)

    The objective of the project is to conduct early detection surveillance sampling for Asian carps for near shore and tributaries throughout the Canadian waters of the Great Lakes basin. A total of 34 early detection sites have been selected in the Great Lakes basin. Combinations of sampling gears are deployed at each site in order to target all life-stages of Asian carps. A community assessment of the fishes present in the areas will be collected.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#DFO-16-PCAA-00013), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2016-06-09)

    Project 1: 2016 assessments of fish communities in southwestern Ontario wetlands. The objective is to assess the impacts of wetland habitat loss and fragmentation on species extinction using freshwater fishes in southwestern Ontario as a study system. Fish communities will be compared in protected and unprotected wetlands of various sizes throughout southwestern Ontario. The relationship between wetland size and species richness for protected and unprotected wetlands will be compare to assess whether fishes in southwestern Ontario are in extinction debt. Project 2: 2016 assessment of Round Goby invasion in the Thames, Grand and Sydenham Rivers, Ontario. Fish species at risk inhabit a wide variety of habitats in Canada. In southern Ontario, a large number of fish species at risk inhabit large river systems, including the Thames River and Grand River. Currently, many Great Lakes tributaries are being invaded by the Round Goby (Neogobius melanostomus). This aquatic invader has decimated native benthic fishes across the lower Great Lakes. This research is important for DFO Science priorities to help develop strategies to manage invasive species in the Great Lakes rivers.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#DFO-18-PCAA-00027 ), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2018-06-01)

    The first objective is to clarify the presence of fish and mussel species at risk, including the extirpated Gravel Chub, in waters of the lower Thames River and its tributaries, as well as in Lake Erie drainages where surveys may not have previously been conducted, or may not have been conducted for some time. Surveys will help confirm and refine critical habitat designations in these areas. The second objective is to collect data to assist Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) in drain classification. Given the high number of species at risk fishes and mussels in the area, it is possible that these surveys will locate species at risk. Surveys will be conducted with the use of backpack electrofishing units, or the placement of minnow traps where appropriate, while mussel community surveys will follow qualitative and/or semi-qualitative survey techniques. These activities may result in the incidental harm, harassment, or death of species at risk, as well as some habitat disruption.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#DFO-18-PCAA-00038), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2018-07-12)

    The objective is to conduct a gear comparison study for small fishes in the Thames River from August to October 2018. Specifically, to determine what gear, or combination of gears, will capture the greatest diversity of small fishes within the Thames River. The species at risk listed on this permit may be captured incidentally during this work, using backpack electrofishing, boat electrofishing, seine nets, fyke nets, small-mesh gill nets, and/or a Siamese benthic trawl, within the Thames river between London and Lighthouse Cove. A total of 30 riffles and 30 pools will be sampled in semi-wadeable sections. Sampling in non-wadeable areas will occur in randomly selected 100 m sections in 30 randomly selected reaches (~600 m in length). These activities will involve the handling of the species listed on this permit for the purposes of identification and processing (count, measures, photograph, etc.). Fishes collected will be identified, counted, and a subset will be measured for fork length. Any mussels captured incidentally will be identified and counted. All fishes and mussels will be released alive after processing, with the exception of some fishes that may be retained to confirm identification. This may result in the incidental harm, harassment, or death of the species listed on this permit, resulting from capture, processing, and release. Habitat disruption as a result of sampling methods will result in a short-lived, localized habitat disturbance that is minimal in nature. Harm to species at risk resulting from these activities is expected to be very low.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#DFO-CA SECT 73 SARA C&A 13-014), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2013-06-11)

    The purpose of the permit is to conduct comprehensive fish surveys throughout the province of Ontario. These surveys are designed to meet specific research requirements of various agencies. They will yield significant information to contribute to species at risk recovery. This research will include assessing current geographic distribution and habitat associations of fish species at risk in Ontario.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#DFO-CA SECT 73 SARA C&A 13-015), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2013-06-11)

    The purpose of the permit is to conduct comprehensive aquatic invasive fish species monitoring with a focus on Asian craps, in the Great Lakes basin. These surveys are designed to meet specific research requirements of various Great Lakes' agencies. These surveys will yield significant information to contribute to the early detection of aquatic invasive species (AIS) in Ontario. This research will also include assessing current geographic distribution and habitat associations of AIS fishes in Ontario.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#DFO-CA SECT 73 SARA C&A 10-005), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2010-03-24)

    The extent of gene flow and genetic diversity for Eastern Sand Darter will be determined throughout the Canadian population through the collection of non-destructive tissue samples.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#DFO-CA SECT 73 SARA C&A 11-015), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2011-05-09)

    The purpose of the project is to analyze multiple populations of Eastern Sand Darters to determine the genetic structure across its range through the collection of non-destructive tissue samples.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#DFO-CA SECT 73 SARA C&A 12-016), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2012-05-29)

    The purpose of the permit is to conduct comprehensive fish surveys throughout the province of Ontario. These surveys are designed to meet specific research requirements of various agencies. They will yield significant information to contribute to species at risk recovery. This research will include assessing current geographic distribution and habitat associations of fish species at risk in Ontario.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#DFO-CA SECT 73 SARA C&A 10-013), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2010-05-07)

    The purpose of the project is is the collection of four non-listed darter species (Percidae: Etheostoma) to study the effects of past climate change on the distribution of genetic diversity within species.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#DFO-CA SECT 73 SARA C&A 10-015), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2010-05-13)

    The purpose of the project is to conduct comprehensive fish surveys to assess the current geographic distribution and habitat associations of fish SAR throughout southern Ontario.
  • Explanation for issuing permit(#DFO-CA-14-00008), persuant to the provisions of section 73 of SARA (2014-05-08)

    The purpose of the permit is to conduct a comprehensive aquatic invasive fish species monitoring, with a focus on Asian carps, in the Great Lakes basin. These aquatic Invasive Surveys (AIS) will yield significant information to contribute to the early detection of AIS in Ontario. This research will also include assessing current geographic distribution and habitat associations of AIS in Ontario.
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