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Pigmy whitefish (Prosopium coulteri)

This is a small whitefish with terete body, large head and eyes, short snout and small, half-low mouth, strongly-prominent tail fin and easily falling scales. This is a very small fish, reaching the weight of 24 grams and the length of not more than 15 centimeters; dwarf whitefish is mainly dwelling in the depths and approaches the shore at night.

Head on top and back is greenish or grayish; the overall tone of the head and torso is silvery, sometimes with a light purple metallic sheen. On the sides of the body along the lateral line there is a row of 10-12 large black spots.

The main range of this fish is located on the other side of the Bering Strait – from Alaska and northern Canada to the Great Lakes. In Russia, this species of the genus Prosopium was discovered relatively recently. It turned out that dwarf whitefish is present in Chukotka in four lakes of the Amguema river basin (Bezymyannoye, Goltsovoye, Ravkergygytgyn and Ekityki).

This species, rare for our fauna, is listed in the Red Book of the Russian Federation.

Ilya Sherbovich