Fun Shortjaw Cisco Facts For Kids

Anamika Balouria
Feb 14, 2023 By Anamika Balouria
Originally Published on Mar 09, 2022
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Fact-checked by Pradhanya Rao
Read shortjaw cisco facts to learn more about these species at risk from the large lakes of Canada.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 6.9 Min

The shortjaw cisco, Coregonus zenithicus, is a native species of North America and is listed among the whitefish of freshwater, which is from the family of salmon. These fish species are found in large lakes with a change in the water temperature according to the season. These species are 6–12 in (150–300 mm) in length and are silver, green, and pale yellow in color. The adult fish species are 12 in (300 mm) and can be found along the Coregonus artedi in the different lakes of Canada, such as Ontario. They are also found in Wisconsin. The species are seeing a great fall in their population in these lakes and are at risk along with their habitat. The International Union for Conservation of Nature has listed these species at risk as Vulnerable. They lay their eggs either during the spring or fall season at the bottom of the lake. In their natural habitat of the Great Lakes, these species feed on small larvae, zooplankton, small crustaceans, and small fish. These species that are endangered must be worked on since the species and their native environment near Lake Superior get no specific protection. It is believed that the Shortjaw cisco is a fish species that has evolved from the Coregonus artedi fish species. 

Shortjaw Cisco Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a shortjaw cisco?

Shortjaw cisco, Coregonus zenithicus are the species at risk in the Great Lakes of Canada and North America. This is due to overfishing in these lakes. They are omnivorous on the basis of their food diet and live in deep water. 

What class of animal does a shortjaw cisco belong to?

Coregonus zenithicus, the scientific name for shortjaw cisco, is a member of the Salmonidae family. These lake species belong to the genus Coregonus and the class Actinopterygii. They are from the order of Salmoniformes and the phylum Chordata. The species was first described by D.S. Jordan and Barton Warren Evermann in 1909. 

How many shortjaw cisco are there in the world?

The exact number of shortjaw cisco fish species in deep lake water is unknown and is not estimated at a global level. The population of these lake fish is at great risk, along with their natural habitat in places such as Ontario, Wisconsin, and many others. 

Where does a shortjaw cisco live?

The Shortjaw cisco, Coregonus zenithicus, is native species of the Great Lakes, Lake Superior in North America and Canada. There was a time when they were found in Lake Michigan. The population of these fish species in Lake Superior, Lake Huron, and Lake Nipigon is either lower in comparison to past records or not certain. Apart from Lake Superior, they have also been found in the Northwest Territories, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, and Saskatchewan, the provinces of Canada.

What is a shortjaw cisco's habitat?

The shortjaw cisco, Coregonus zenithicus, is one of the fish species which are mostly found in lakes with deep water. These fish species at risk are at a great decline in their natural habitats, such as great lakes, and their endangered populations are found in the deep lake water around 180-374 ft (55-114 m). They are found in the freshwater of Lake Superior, Huron, and Michigan. The depth range in Lake Superior is observed to shift seasonally.

Who do shortjaw cisco live with?

Shortjaw cisco, Coregonus zenithicus, and the deep lake water species are social beings by nature who live at a depth of 180–374 ft (55–114 m). During the spawning period, the eggs are laid in abundance, more than 3000. 

How long does a shortjaw cisco live?

Shortjaw ciscos are known to survive on an average of 10–13 years in their natural surroundings of deep lake water, where they eat common aquatic foods from the deep lake water. 

How do they reproduce?

The breeding or spawning season for the shortjaw cisco, Coregonus zenithicus, is in the fall or autumn, and spring. In deep lake water, the eggs laid by the female are stored at the bottom of the lake, and it takes 12–16 weeks for them to develop in their natural habitat, which utterly depends upon the temperature of the lake along with its depth. This fish species, whether it be males or females, is known to attain sexual maturity when they are five years old. According to some scientific evidence, females reach sexual maturity at the age of two, while males reach sexual maturity at the age of three. So, the age of their sexual maturity is not certain and might fluctuate. 

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of these species is listed as Vulnerable under threatened species. Shortjaw species at risk needs to be worked upon as no special protection is given to the species and their natural habitat near Lake Superior. In Canada, only Fisheries Act protection is provided as these fish species are Vulnerable. Apart from that, no special protection is provided by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada. 

Shortjaw Cisco Fun Facts

What do shortjaw cisco look like?

The shortjaw cisco has shiny, smooth scales of iridescent silver color with a back which green and belly white in color. The mouth of the shortjaw cisco is tiny and hollow, the upper jaw of the mouth is larger than the lower jaw in its length. The average length of the fish is 6–12 in (150–300 mm), although the typical range of their weight is 10.6 oz (300 g). The shortjaw cisco species are difficult to tell apart from other species of cisco because it typically has a few gillrakers in comparison to the other ciscoes.

Interesting character and habitat facts about the Shortjaw Cisco.

How cute are they?

The shortjaw cisco, which is found in Ontario, Michigan, and many others, is a small to medium-sized fish species that look beautiful due to its skin color, which is very colorful. 

How do they communicate?

There is not much information available about the communication of shortjaw cisco, while most of the fish species from their family are known to communicate using olfaction. They communicate with the help of low sound frequencies that they receive from their natural environment. 

How big is a shortjaw cisco?

The length of a shortjaw cisco is 6–12 in (150–300 mm).

How fast can a shortjaw cisco swim?

Their swimming speed is unknown, but they can be found at depths ranging from 180-374 ft (55-114 m).

How much does a shortjaw cisco weigh?

The shortjaw cisco is 10.6 oz (300 g) in weight.

What are the male and female names of the species?

The male and female of the species do not have any specific names and are known by their common name, shortjaw cisco. 

What would you call a baby shortjaw cisco?

The baby of a shortjaw cisco is called a larva or fry. 

What do they eat?

Shortjaw cisco is omnivorous on basis of its diet food. For food, they consume small insects, larvae, zooplankton, shrimp, and a variety of other small crustaceans. They feed on the small insects that are found in the deep lake water.

Are they dangerous?

No, these fish species are not dangerous and are recognized for their social behavior. The population of these species is in decline, so there is generally no harm evident from these fish species. 

Would they make a good pet?

Due to their decline in population, these species would not be an ideal choice to be kept as pets. 

Did You Know...

Shortjaw ciscos are named so because they have a small mouth that is toothless and hallow. The shortjaw cisco is endemic to its native place. The male shortjaw cisco is the first to enter the shallow water of the lake for spawning, and females soon follow the male to spawn. The eggs are dispersed at the bottom of the lake and have no further care by the parents. The female shortjaw cisco is generally larger than the male shortjaw cisco. This also allows you to spot the male and female shortjaw cisco, which are also sexually dimorphic. The shortjaw cisco, Coregonus zenithicus, is a slender fish that lives in the Great Lakes and their connecting waters. It has distinctive white flesh on its belly area with a small snout, which helps one to identify the species. 

Who eats shortjaw cisco?

Lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush), sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus), and burbot (Lota lota) are the aquatic species that are found in the great lakes and eat shortjaw cisco. 

How many eggs do shortjaw cisco lay?

The shortjaw cisco lays more than 3000 eggs at the bottom of the deep lake. The eggs take 12–16 weeks to develop into fries. 

**We've been unable to source an image of a shortjaw ciscoand have used an image of a brook trout instead. If you are able to provide us with a royalty-free image of a shortjaw cisco, we would be happy to credit you. Please contact us at


Shortjaw Cisco Facts

What Did They Prey On?

Zooplanktons, small crustaceans, shrimps, small fish

What Type of Animal were they?


Average Litter Size?


How Much Did They Weigh?

10.6 oz (300 g)

What habitat Do they Live In?

deep water, great lakes

Where Do They Live?

michigan, ontario, canada, north america, and wisconsin

How Long Were They?

6–12 in (150–300 mm)

How Tall Were They?








Scientific Name

Coregonus zenithicus

What Do They Look Like?

Green, pale yellow, silver, black, white, brown

Skin Type


What Are Their Main Threats?

large fish, habitat loss, fishing, lake trout, and burbots, sea lampreys

What is their Conservation Status?

We Want Your Photos!
We Want Your Photos!

We Want Your Photos!

Do you have a photo you are happy to share that would improve this article?
Email your photos

More for You


See All

Written by Anamika Balouria

Bachelor of Arts specializing in English, Bachelor of Education specializing in Secondary Education and Teaching, Master of Arts specializing in English

Anamika Balouria picture

Anamika BalouriaBachelor of Arts specializing in English, Bachelor of Education specializing in Secondary Education and Teaching, Master of Arts specializing in English

A dedicated and enthusiastic learner, Anamika is committed to the growth and development of her team and organization. She holds undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in English from Daulat Ram University and Indira Gandhi Institute for Open Learning respectively, as well as a Bachelor of Education from Amity University, Noida. Anamika is a skilled writer and editor with a passion for continual learning and development.
Read full bio >
Read the DisclaimerFact Correction