Common name:Rainbow trout
Scientific name:Oncorhynchus mykiss
Rainbow trout are found in cold, well oxygenated water. Rainbow trout have been linked to the decline of some indigenous fish species.
Where does this species come from?North America.
What is its invasive status in South Africa?Rainbow trout is not listed as an invader in any law in South Africa. Rainbow trout is proposed as a Category 2 invasive species in proposed amendments to the Alien Invasive Species Regulations (February 2018). These regulations have not been passed into law, to date.
Where in South Africa is it a problem?Western Cape and highland regions of Gauteng, Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo Province.
How does it spread?They spread by swimming and establishing themselves in cold water rivers and under suitable conditions females will breed producing 2 000 to 3 000 eggs.
Why is it a problem?Trout are efficient predators which prey on smaller fish species and threaten indigenous fish. They also feed on amphibians and invertebrates, leading to local declines.
What does it look like?Description: Dark-olive in colour, shading to silvery-white on the underside with a heavily speckled body. A pink-red stripe is often present along their sides. This becomes most pronounced during the breeding season. The body profile is oblong and streamlined. In dams they can reach almost 70cm in length with a weight of 6kg, but in shallower rivers they seldom exceed 50cm and weigh around 1.5kg. Habitat: Found in fast-flowing, well oxygenated rivers and highland dams. They have a preference for clear, cold water. Breeding: Females produce 2 000 to 3 000 eggs. The eggs fall onto the gravel and between pebbles where they complete their development.