Aquatic Species at Risk - Speckled Dace

Speckled Dace

Speckled Dace

SARA Status: Endangered, listed under SARA (2009) COSEWIC Status: Endangered (2006)

Region: British Columbia

Region: British Columbia

Did You Know?

Scientists believe that the Speckled dace was one of the first fish to re-colonize rivers in British Columbia following the Ice Age. A member of the carp family, not much is known about Speckled dace reproduction in Canada. Scientists believe that spawning occurs once a year from June through August in fish older than two years. During breeding, many males often accompany a single female who broadcasts adhesive eggs over the gravelly streambed; each female produces between 200 and 500 eggs. Speckled dace are not likely to live beyond the age of four.


In Canada, the Speckled dace reaches lengths of 5–6 cm. Speckled dace have moderately elongated and rounded bodies with flat bellies. The fish is grey-brown or olive in colour with dark speckles that often obscure the dark lateral stripe; lower parts are yellowish-white. Young have strong lateral bands that are absent in the mottled adults. During spawning, males develop reddish lips, snout, and fin bases.


In British Columbia, adult Speckled dace are found in shallow waters with slow to moderately strong current. The fish seem to prefer mountain streams with stony beds that are cleaned by spring flood-waters.


Many threats to Speckled dace are connected to the availability of good quality habitat; these include impacts of low-flow conditions, agricultural and industrial pollution, forest harvesting activities, and hydroelectric development. Limited range within a single river system and lack of abundance are major risk factors for Speckled dace in Canada, especially when considering the potential effects of climate change or exotic species introductions.

How Can You Help?

  • Prevent pollution: Avoid polluting streams, lakes and rivers with garbage, fuel, pesticides or other contaminants. Remember that much of what you pour into your drains will ultimately make it to rivers and lakes.

  • Keep beaches clean: Always put trash in trash cans, especially near rivers, lakes and beaches.

  • Recyle and reuse: Help reduce waste by recycling or reusing plastic and paper goods.

  • Participate in community consultations: Get involved in Community Working Groups like the Morrison Creek Streamkeepers ( or visit

  • Volunteer: This may include participating on committees, attending meetings, assisting at educational outreach events, distributing outreach materials, getting involved with a conservation organization, or just simply telling a neighbour or a friend about this species.

The Speckled dace will get the protection it needs only if all Canadians work together to reduce threats. Find out more about the Speckled dace and be aware of human-induced threats. Do your best to reduce these threats and better protect the habitat of this species at risk by getting involved with the Habitat Stewardship Program for Species at Risk or another conservation organization.

Further Information:

Found only in a small section of the Kettle and Granby rivers, Canada is the northern limit of the Speckled dace’s distribution.Young dace are generally found among polished stones at the river’s edge where the current is slower and the water shallower while adults can be found in deeper, higher velocity flows and pools.

A recovery strategy for the Speckled dace is currently being developed by Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Province of British Columbia.

Scientific Information:

Scientific Name: Rhinichthys osculus
Taxonomy: Fishes (freshwater)