Actinopterygii (ray-finned fishes) > Salmoniformes
(Salmons) > Salmonidae
(Salmonids) > Salmoninae
Etymology: Salvelinus: Old name for char; it is the same root of german "saibling" = little salmon (Ref. 45335); malma: malma which is the the common name for this species in Kamchatka (Ref. 1998).
Environment / Climate / Range
Marine; freshwater; brackish; benthopelagic; anadromous (Ref. 51243); depth range 0 - 200 m (Ref. 50550). Temperate; 4°C - 18°C (Ref. 13614); 71°N - 41°N
Length at first maturity / Size / Weight / Age
Maturity: Lm 23.5, range 12 - 21 cm
Max length : 127 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 27436); common length : 37.5 cm TL male/unsexed; (Ref. 12193); max. published weight: 18.3 kg (Ref. 27436)
soft rays: 10 - 15. Body elongate, somewhat rounded, greatest body depth below dorsal fin. Head rather long. Pelvic fins with free-tipped fleshy appendage above its insertion. Caudal emarginate (Ref. 27547). Color varies with size, locality and habitat. Sea-run adults with back, upper head, and upper sides dark blue, the sides silvery to white. In freshwater populations, the back and upper sides are olive green to brown, the sides a paler color but bright red in spawning fish and at all times in some areas of Alaska, the underside white to dusky. The dorsal surface are marked with yellow, orange or red spots, more numerous and those along the lateral line smaller, than in arctic char. Spawning males, especially of anadromous populations, turn red on the ventral surface and tip of snout. The lower jaw, operculum and parts of the head are black, the back and sides turn olive-brown. The spots become more vivid orange-red, the pectoral and anal fins red-black with a white leading edge, the snout thickens and the lower jaw turns up. Females change less.
Arctic, Northwest to Northeast Pacific: drainages from Alaska to Puget Sound, Washington, USA; formerly in McCloud River drainages in California, USA. Northwest Pacific: Korea to Bering Sea (Ref. 2850).
Occurs in deep runs and pools of creeks and rivers; also in lakes and the sea (Ref. 5723). Lives in very clean mountain streams (Ref. 12218). Nerito-pelagic (Ref. 58426). Typically anadromous, but many populations are landlocked (Ref. 5723). Anadromous fish may spend 2-3 years at sea, evidently near shore, and migrate upstream to spawn (Ref. 5723). Young remain in streams for 3-4 years and feed on insects, leeches, snails, and salmon eggs (Ref. 1998) before entering brackish and salt water to feed on insects, fishes, and other invertebrates. Utilized fresh and eaten fried, broiled, and baked (Ref. 9988).
Adults from the sea and lakes enter rivers to spawn. A female selects a nest site and begins to dig a redd while the male continues to court her and drive away intruding males. Upon completion of the redd, both drop into it and release eggs and sperm. This may be repeated several times before the eggs are covered by the female who swims along the edge of the of the redd, sweeping small pebbles and other particles into it with her tail and anal fin. Later, she may dig again and further cover the eggs while preparing a new nest (Ref. 27547). Breeding is an annual event for southern populations; occurring every second or third year in the Arctic (Ref. 27547). Males and females reportedly die after spawning (Ref. 12218).
Page, L.M. and B.M. Burr, 1991. A field guide to freshwater fishes of North America north of Mexico. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston. 432 p. (Ref. 5723)
IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 96402)
CITES (Ref. 94142)
Threat to humans
Fisheries: commercial; gamefish: yes
Estimates of some properties based on models
Phylogenetic diversity index (Ref. 82805
= 0.5000 [Uniqueness, from 0.5 = low to 2.0 = high].
Bayesian length-weight: a=0.00550 (0.00358 - 0.00843), b=3.03 (2.90 - 3.16), based on LWR estimates for species & Subfamily-body shape (Ref. 93245
Trophic Level (Ref. 69278
): 4.4 ±0.6 se; Based on diet studies.
Resilience (Ref. 69278
): Low, minimum population doubling time 4.5 - 14 years (tm=3-5).
Vulnerability (Ref. 59153
): High to very high vulnerability (70 of 100) .