Atlantic salmon

Atlantic salmon

Salmo salar

Common name:

Atlantic salmon

Scientific name:

Salmo salar

Alternative common names:


Description:

The distribution of Atlantic salmon is temperature dependent. While they live in fresh water, they have blue and red spots. When they mature, they take on a silver-blue sheen. The easiest way of identifying the adults is by the black spots predominantly above thelateral line; the caudal fin is usually unspotted.

Additional Information


Where does this species come from?

Northern Atlantic and North Pacific.

What is its invasive status in South Africa?

NEMBA Category 1b

Where in South Africa is it a problem?

Coastal regions of South Africa.

How does it spread?

Through rivers that flow into oceans.

Why is it a problem?

It is aggressive and attack other fish, becoming an invasive threat to indigenous salmon for resources.

What does it look like?

Description: While they live in fresh water, they have blue and red spots. When they mature, they take on a silver-blue sheen. After two years at sea they measure 71-76cm long and weigh 3.6 to 5.4kg on average. Record-sized specimens have been measured at 153cm long, weighing 45kg.

Habitat: Fresh water, rivers, streams, lakes and coastal waters.

Breeding: The species constructs a nest in the gravel bed of a stream. The female creates a powerful downdraught of water with her tail near the gravel to excavate a depression. After she and the male fish have eggs and milt (spray sperm), respectively, upstream of the depression, the female again uses her tail to shift the gravel to cover the eggs and milt, which have lodged in the depression. They breed once a year, in April.

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