Esox lucius (pike)
- Summary of Invasiveness
- Taxonomic Tree
- Distribution Table
- History of Introduction and Spread
- Risk of Introduction
- Habitat List
- Biology and Ecology
- Natural Food Sources
- Air Temperature
- Water Tolerances
- Means of Movement and Dispersal
- Pathway Causes
- Pathway Vectors
- Impact Summary
- Economic Impact
- Environmental Impact
- Social Impact
- Risk and Impact Factors
- Uses List
- Prevention and Control
- Distribution Maps
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PicturesTop of page
IdentityTop of page
Preferred Scientific Name
- Esox lucius Linnaeus, 1758
Preferred Common Name
Other Scientific Names
- Esox boreus Agassiz, 1850
- Esox estor Lesueur, 1818
- Esox lucioides Agassiz & Girard, 1850
- Esox lucius atrox Anikin, 1902
- Esox lucius bergi Kaganowsky, 1933
- Esox lucius lucius wiliunensis Kirillov, 1962
- Esox lucius variegatus Fitzinger, 1832
- Esox nobilior Thompson, 1850
- Esox reichertii baicalensis Dybowski, 1874
- Luccius vorax Rafinesque, 1810
- Lucius lucius (Linnaeus, 1758)
- Trematina foveolata Trautschold, 1884
International Common Names
- English: american pike; common pike; great Lakes pike; great northern pickerel; great northern pike; jack; jackfish; pickerel; pike; snake; wolf
- Spanish: lucio
- French: bec de canard; beked; brochet; brochet du nord; brouché; brouchet; brouchetta; grand brochet; hecht; lanceron; poignard; sifflet
- Russian: obyknovennaya schuka; shchuka; shtschuka
Local Common Names
- Austria: hecht; pike
- Azerbaijan: shtschuka
- Belarus: shtschuka
- Bulgaria: shtuka
- Canada: cinosa; cinoseo; cinusèw; grand brochet; great northern pickerel; great northern pike; hiulik; idlûlukak; ihok; jack; jackfish; kikiyuk; kiqyôq; northern pike; pickerel; pike; siolik; siulik; siun; sjulik; tchinouchao; tchukvak
- Canada/Quebec: kikiyuk; kiqyôq
- Czech Republic: stika obecná
- Denmark: gedde
- Estonia: haug; hauki; pike
- Finland: hauki
- France: bec de canard; beked; brochet; brochet du nord; brouché; brouchet; brouchetta; hecht; lanceron; poignard; sifflet
- Germany: bunthecht; Europäischer Hecht; Flußhecht; grashecht; Hecht; Hechten; heekt; Heichit; hengste; höcht; liede; scheckhecht; schnock; schnöck; schnuck; snook
- Greece: toúrna; zoúrna
- Hungary: csuka
- Iceland: gedda
- Iran: ordak Mahi; ordakmahi; shook Chehkhab
- Ireland: lius
- Italy: luccio
- Japan: kawakamasu
- Kyrgyzstan: kadimki chorton; shchuka obyknovennaya
- Latvia: lidaka; shtschuka
- Lithuania: lydeka
- Mongolia: pike
- Netherlands: snoek
- Norway: gjedde
- Poland: szczupak
- Portugal: lúcio
- Romania: marlita; stiuca
- Russian Federation: northern pike; obyknovennaya schuka; pike; shchuka
- Serbia: stuka
- Slovakia: stuka obycajná
- Slovenia: scuka
- Spain: lucio
- Sweden: gädda
- Turkey: turna baligi
- UK: northern pike; penhwyad; pike
- UK/England and Wales: penhwyad
- Ukraine: shtschuka
- USA: American pike; common pike; Great Lakes pike; great northern pickerel; jack; jackfish; northern pike; pickerel; qalru; she; sheoak; siilik; snake; wolf
- USA/Alaska: qalru; she; sheoak; siilik
- Uzbekistan: northern pike
- Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro): stuka
Summary of InvasivenessTop of page
Esox lucius, also known as pike or northern pike, is a highly successful species of brackish and freshwater fish which has been widely introduced and translocated throughout Europe and North America, with several countries reporting adverse ecological impacts after introduction (Welcomme, 1988). Impacts can be either direct, such as by predation, or indirect, such as by causing prey fish to alter their behavior (He and Kitchell, 1990). This piscivorous species has also been shown to significantly reduce the density of prey species and has the potential to cause large-scale changes in fish communities, even resulting in the extinction of some species (He and Kitchell, 1990). Adults of this species feed mainly on fish, but will also feed on frogs and crayfish (Morrow, 1980). Cannibalism is more common in adults (Billard, 1997) but is also known for juveniles. In introduced lakes in the North American arctic it is sometimes the only species present, and in these cases the juveniles will then feed on invertebrates and terrestrial vertebrates (Kottelat and Freyhof, 2007).
Taxonomic TreeTop of page
- Domain: Eukaryota
- Kingdom: Metazoa
- Phylum: Chordata
- Subphylum: Vertebrata
- Class: Actinopterygii
- Class: Umbra pygmaea
- Order: Esociformes
- Family: Esocidae
- Genus: Esox
- Species: Esox lucius
DescriptionTop of page
E. lucius has an elongated body which is green to brown on the dorsal surface with lighter flanks bearing whitish spots. The dorsal fin origin is slightly in front of the anal origin and both fins are placed well back to allow for rapid acceleration (Hubbs and Lagler, 2004); the pectoral fins low on the body, based under the opercle with the pelvic fins, which are rounded and paddle-shaped, also low on the body. There are 17-25 dorsal rays, 10-22 anal rays, 19 caudal rays and 57-65 vertebrae. The duckbill-shaped head of E. lucius accounts for 25-30% of an average total length of 46-76 cm (Scott and Crossman, 1973). On the underside of each side of the lower jaw, there are five sensory pores. The body and most of the head are covered with small cycloid scales. The eyes are yellow and highly mobile (Lefevre, 1999).
Distribution TableTop of page
The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.
|Continent/Country/Region||Distribution||Last Reported||Origin||First Reported||Invasive||Reference||Notes|
|Atlantic, Northeast||Present||Native||Froese and Pauly, 2004|
|Armenia||Present||Native||Froese and Pauly, 2004|
|Azerbaijan||Present||Native||Blanc et al., 1971; Froese and Pauly, 2004|
|China||Present||Native||Walker Yang, 1999; Froese and Pauly, 2004|
|Georgia (Republic of)||Present||Native||Blanc et al., 1971; Froese and Pauly, 2004|
|Iran||Present||Native||Coad, 1995; Froese and Pauly, 2004|
|Kazakhstan||Present||Native||Blanc et al., 1971; Froese and Pauly, 2004|
|Mongolia||Present||Native||Dulmaa, 1999; Froese and Pauly, 2004|
|Turkey||Present||Native||, 1999; Froese and Pauly, 2004|
|Turkmenistan||Present||Native||Sal'nikov, 1998; Froese and Pauly, 2004|
|Uzbekistan||Present||Native||Froese and Pauly, 2004|
|Algeria||Localised||Introduced||Not invasive||Lever, 1996|
|Ethiopia||Present||Introduced||Tedla and Meskel, 1981; Froese and Pauly, 2004|
|Madagascar||Present||Introduced||Froese and Pauly, 2004|
|Morocco||Present||Introduced||Welcomme, 1988; Froese and Pauly, 2004|
|Tunisia||Present||Introduced||Welcomme, 1988; Froese and Pauly, 2004|
|Uganda||Present||Introduced||Welcomme, 1988; Froese and Pauly, 2004|
|Canada||Widespread||Native||Scott and Crossman, 1999; Froese and Pauly, 2004|
|-Alberta||Widespread||Native||Scott and Crossman, 1999|
|-British Columbia||Widespread||Native||Scott and Crossman, 1999; Froese and Pauly, 2004|
|-Manitoba||Widespread||Native||Scott and Crossman, 1999|
|-Newfoundland and Labrador||Present||Native||Froese and Pauly, 2004|
|-Northwest Territories||Widespread||Native||Scott and Crossman, 1999|
|-Ontario||Widespread||Native||Scott and Crossman, 1999|
|-Quebec||Widespread||Native||Scott and Crossman, 1999; Froese and Pauly, 2004|
|-Saskatchewan||Widespread||Native||Scott and Crossman, 1999|
|-Yukon Territory||Widespread||Native||Scott and Crossman, 1999|
|USA||Present||Native||Page and Burr, 1991; Froese and Pauly, 2004|
|-Alaska||Present||Native||Morrow, 1980; Froese and Pauly, 2004|
|Albania||Widespread||Native||Blanc et al., 1971|
|Austria||Widespread||Native||AFMAFEWM and, 2011|
|Belgium||Present||Native||Welcomme, 1988; Froese and Pauly, 2004|
|Bosnia-Hercegovina||Present||Native||Gerstmeier and Romig, 1998; Froese and Pauly, 2004|
|Bulgaria||Present||Native||Froese and Pauly, 2004|
|Croatia||Present||Native||Gerstmeier and Romig, 1998; Froese and Pauly, 2004|
|Czech Republic||Present||Native||Blanc et al., 1971; Froese and Pauly, 2004|
|Denmark||Present||Native||Blanc et al., 1971; Froese and Pauly, 2004|
|Estonia||Present||Native||University of Tartu, 1999; Froese and Pauly, 2004|
|Finland||Present||Native||Koli, 1990; Froese and Pauly, 2004|
|France||Present||Native||Keith and Allardi, 2001; Froese and Pauly, 2004|
|Germany||Present||Native||Gunther, 1853; Froese and Pauly, 2004|
|Greece||Present||Native||Welcomme, 1988; Froese and Pauly, 2004|
|Hungary||Present||Native||Muus and Dahlstrom, 1968; Froese and Pauly, 2004|
|Ireland||Present||Introduced||Welcomme, 1988; Froese and Pauly, 2004|
|Italy||Present||Native||Gandolfi et al., 1991; Froese and Pauly, 2004|
|Latvia||Present||Native||Blanc et al., 1971; Froese and Pauly, 2004|
|Lithuania||Present||Native||Blanc et al., 1971; Froese and Pauly, 2004|
|Luxembourg||Present||Native||Welcomme, 1988; Froese and Pauly, 2004|
|Macedonia||Present||Native||Muus and Dahlstrom, 1968; Froese and Pauly, 2004|
|Moldova||Present||Native||Blanc et al., 1971; Froese and Pauly, 2004|
|Monaco||Present||Native||Welcomme, 1988; Froese and Pauly, 2004|
|Netherlands||Present||Native||Welcomme, 1988; Froese and Pauly, 2004|
|Norway||Present||Native||Gerstmeier and Romig, 1998; Froese and Pauly, 2004|
|Poland||Present||Native||Muus and Dahlstrom, 1968; Froese and Pauly, 2004|
|Portugal||Present||Introduced||Welcomme, 1988; Froese and Pauly, 2004|
|-Azores||Localised||Introduced||Not invasive||Azevedo et al., 2004|
|Romania||Widespread||Native||Iacob and Dima, 2006|
|Russian Federation||Present||Native||Reshetnikov et al., 1997; Froese and Pauly, 2004|
|Serbia||Widespread||Native||Muus and Dahlstrom, 1968|
|Slovakia||Present||Native||Holcik, 1996; Froese and Pauly, 2004|
|Slovenia||Present||Native||Povz, 1996; Froese and Pauly, 2004|
|Spain||Present||Introduced||Welcomme, 1988; Froese and Pauly, 2004|
|Sweden||Present||Native||Koli, 1990; Froese and Pauly, 2004|
|Switzerland||Present||Native||Muus and Dahlstrom, 1968; Froese and Pauly, 2004|
|UK||Present||Native||Maitland and Lyle, 1996; Froese and Pauly, 2004|
|Ukraine||Present||Native||Pavlov, 1980; Froese and Pauly, 2004|
|Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro)||Present||Native||Froese and Pauly, 2004|
History of Introduction and SpreadTop of page
E. lucius has been introduced to waters outside its native range for centuries, mainly due to its popularity as a sport fish. The first recorded introduction of this species was into Ireland during the sixteenth century (Harvey, 2009), although many other transfers were un-recorded or illegal (Aguilar et al. 2005). The many introductions within Europe, and from Europe to other continents, have not all be listed, although some records have been gathered. Welcomme (1988) cites introductions into Ireland, Spain and Italy within Europe, and, further afield, to Madagascar, Morocco, Tunisia and Uganda (Harvey, 2009).
IntroductionsTop of page
|Introduced to||Introduced from||Year||Reason||Introduced by||Established in wild through||References||Notes|
|Natural reproduction||Continuous restocking|
Risk of IntroductionTop of page
Throughout this species’ global introduction, E. lucius has been introduced into lakes predominantly as a fisheries target, with other attempts (usually unsuccessful) into rivers. In Canada, once it is introduced into a new habitat, E. lucius will disperse naturally, taking advantage of whatever pathways exist (Kerr and Lasenby, 2001). There are also numerous examples in the literature of this species spreading throughout interconnected lake and river systems. For example, the spread within the Saskatchewan River drainage in Montana (Dos Santos, 1991) and migration through the Trent Canal system in Ontario, which extended its range to the Kawartha Lakes, resulted in a subsequent reduction in numbers of muskellunge (Esox masquinongy) (DFO 2006).
HabitatTop of page
E. lucius is generally found in clear, shallow, moderately productive, vegetated lakes less than 4 m deep, quiet pools and backwaters of creeks, and small to large rivers (Page and Burr, 1991). It occasionally enters brackish water in the Baltic. It does not generally undertake long migrations, but a few may move considerable distances (Morrow, 1980).
Habitat ListTop of page
|Inland saline areas||Secondary/tolerated habitat||Natural|
|Rivers / streams||Principal habitat||Natural|
Biology and EcologyTop of page
E. lucius has a chromosome number of 25 haploid/gametic (n) and 50 diploid/zygotic (2n) (Arkhipchuk, 1999). It is known to hybridise with amur pike (E. reichertii) as well as grass pickerel (E. vermiculatus). The genetics of this species have been intensively studied and the genetic variation among different populations has been explored (Wang et al., 2011).
E. lucius are batch spawners that move inshore or upstream to flooded or marsh areas to spawn (Scott and Crossman, 1973). Spawning normally occurs during daylight hours, in areas of vegetation and in shallow water <17.8 cm). Eggs and sperm (5 to 60 eggs/spawn) are released simultaneously, with the eggs deposited in the flooded areas on submerged vegetation over a period of 2-5 days. Spawning takes place every few minutes, for up to several hours, over a period of several days until all eggs are extruded.
Over the years, fish pathologists have been greatly interested in the E. lucius as it hosts a lot of parasites such as fungi, protozoa, various worms, leeches, molluscs and crustacea. Pike are also susceptible to numerous bacterial and viral diseases and tumorous lesions. 18 species of metazoan parasite, including the common bacterium Pseudomonas hydrophila (Scott and Crossman, 1973), the trematode worm Uvulifer ambloplitis and the nematode Raphidascaris acus (found in the gastrointestinal tract and liver; Poole and Dick, 1986) were identified by Watson and Dick (1980).
E. lucius are generally found in shallow, moderately productive, vegetated waters less than 4 m deep. They are most commonly found in lakes but may also be found in rivers; however, they avoid fast water and seek out vegetated side channels, sloughs and other backwaters.
Natural Food SourcesTop of page
|Food Source||Life Stage||Contribution to Total Food Intake (%)||Details|
ClimateTop of page
|C - Temperate/Mesothermal climate||Preferred||Average temp. of coldest month > 0°C and < 18°C, mean warmest month > 10°C|
|Cf - Warm temperate climate, wet all year||Preferred||Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, wet all year|
|Cs - Warm temperate climate with dry summer||Preferred||Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry summers|
|Cw - Warm temperate climate with dry winter||Preferred||Warm temperate climate with dry winter (Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry winters)|
|D - Continental/Microthermal climate||Preferred||Continental/Microthermal climate (Average temp. of coldest month < 0°C, mean warmest month > 10°C)|
|Df - Continental climate, wet all year||Preferred||Continental climate, wet all year (Warm average temp. > 10°C, coldest month < 0°C, wet all year)|
|Ds - Continental climate with dry summer||Preferred||Continental climate with dry summer (Warm average temp. > 10°C, coldest month < 0°C, dry summers)|
|Dw - Continental climate with dry winter||Preferred||Continental climate with dry winter (Warm average temp. > 10°C, coldest month < 0°C, dry winters)|
Air TemperatureTop of page
|Parameter||Lower limit||Upper limit|
|Mean annual temperature (ºC)||0.1||29.4|
Water TolerancesTop of page
|Parameter||Minimum Value||Maximum Value||Typical Value||Status||Life Stage||Notes|
|Dissolved oxygen (mg/l)||4||Optimum||Casselman (1978)|
|Dissolved oxygen (mg/l)||0.3||Harmful||Casselman (1978)|
|Salinity (part per thousand)||6||Harmful||Larsen et al. (2005)|
|Water pH (pH)||7||Optimum||Tolerates pH range of pH 5-9.5 (Scott and Crossman, 1973)|
|Water temperature (ºC temperature)||10||19||Optimum||Tolerates 0.1-29.4°C (Casselman, 1978)|
Means of Movement and DispersalTop of page
Natural Dispersal (Non-Biotic)
E. lucius migrates during the spawning season.
E. lucius has a long history of introductions outside of its native range, mainly as an angling target, but also more recently as an aquacultural species.
Pathway CausesTop of page
|Aquaculture||See distribution table and list||Yes||Yes|
|Fisheries||See distribution table and list||Yes||Yes|
|Food||See distribution table and list||Yes||Yes|
|Hunting, angling, sport or racing||See distribution table and list||Yes||Yes|
|Intentional release||See distribution table and list||Yes||Yes|
Pathway VectorsTop of page
Impact SummaryTop of page
Economic ImpactTop of page
Pike aquaculture is used primarily as a source of fingerlings used to stock water bodies for recreational fishing, although in Finland, commercial pike fishery has also benefited from these stockings (Mann 1996); there is therefore an economic benefit for both recreational and commercial fishermen, as well as the creation of jobs in the aquaculture industry.
Environmental ImpactTop of page
Impact on Biodiversity
E. lucius is able to hybridise with both the muskellunge (E. masquinongy) and the chain pickerel (E. niger). Female hybrids of pike and musky (tiger muskellunge) are fertile and capable of back-crossing (Becker, 1983). The main impacts of E. lucius on biodiversity are through alteration of fish communities through predation (i.e. cyprinids or salmonids) and competition with other esocids (i.e. muskellunge).
Social ImpactTop of page
Throughout Europe and North America E. lucius is a highly sought-after recreational fishing species, as well as a commercially sought-after species in many countries. In addition to its value for commercial fishermen, recreational fishing and tourism may create a demand not only for food, accommodation and transportation, but also for related recreational activities such as camping, boating, canoeing, etc., all of which may provide economic opportunities locally.
Risk and Impact FactorsTop of page Invasiveness
- Invasive in its native range
- Proved invasive outside its native range
- Has a broad native range
- Abundant in its native range
- Highly adaptable to different environments
- Tolerant of shade
- Capable of securing and ingesting a wide range of food
- Highly mobile locally
- Long lived
- Altered trophic level
- Damaged ecosystem services
- Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
- Negatively impacts aquaculture/fisheries
- Reduced native biodiversity
- Threat to/ loss of endangered species
- Threat to/ loss of native species
- Competition - monopolizing resources
- Pest and disease transmission
- Highly likely to be transported internationally deliberately
- Highly likely to be transported internationally illegally
- Difficult to identify/detect in the field
- Difficult/costly to control
Uses ListTop of page
- Sport (hunting, shooting, fishing, racing)
Human food and beverage
- Meat/fat/offal/blood/bone (whole, cut, fresh, frozen, canned, cured, processed or smoked)
Prevention and ControlTop of page
Rapid responses to E. lucius is established at the national level. However, there is little public awareness of the risks posed by this species.
As established populations are difficult and costly to control, further introductions or stocking should be avoided.
Electrofishing and seine netting can both be used.
In Alaska the State Legislature strengthened the penalty for illegal stocking of non-indigenous fish to a class A misdemeanor, which allows the court to seek restitution for damages to the fishery and expenses for removing introduced fish.
The only effective method of fish eradication is the application of rotenone, a piscicide that is also toxic to non target species. However, in Lake Davis in California an attempt was made to eradicate E. lucius using rotenone which proved unsuccessful. Since then, other attempts have been made at this site, employing techniques such as trapping, electrofishing and even explosives.
Monitoring and Surveillance
Both radio and acoustic telemetry can be used.
ReferencesTop of page
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Aguilar A; Banks JD; Levine KF; Wayne RK, 2005. Population genetics of northern pike (Esox lucius) introduced into Lake Davis, California. Population genetics of northern pike introduced into Lake Davis, California, 62:1589-1599.
Arkhipchuk VV, 1999. Chromosome database. Database of Dr. Victor Arkhipchuk. Ukraine.
Azevedo JMN; Leitao MMCS; Borges I; Moreira R; Patricio R, 2004. Assay quantification of fish fauna of lakes in Sao Miguel (Azores) (Ensaio de Quantificacao de Fauna Piscicola de Lagoas em Sao Miguel (Acores)). Rua Mae de Deus, 9501-801, Ponta Delgada, Azores: Investigation Centre for Natural Resources and Department of Biology, University of Azores.
Billard R, 1997. Les poissons d’eau douce des rivieres de France. Identification, inventaire et repartition des 83 especes. Lausanne: Delachaux and Niestle, 192 pp.
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Pavlov PI, 1980. Fauna of Ukraine. Fishes. Tunicata (Ascidian, appendicularian), Acrania (Cephalochordata), Vertebrata (Cyclostomata; cartilaginous fishes, bony fishes- sturgeons; clupeids; anchois; salmonides; ombres; brochets; umbres). Kiev, Naukova Dumka Publishing House, 8(1).
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Sal'nikov VB, 1998. Anthropogenic Migration of Fish in Turkmenistan. Journal of Ichthyology, 38(8):591-602.
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28/08/12 Original text by:
Michael J Godard, consultant, UK
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