Skip to main content

Chinook Salmon

Alaska's state fish, the Chinook Salmon, goes by a plethora of other names, including the King Salmon, Spring Salmon, Tyee Salmon, and Blackmouth Salmon. It is the largest of the pacific salmon, often exceeding 40lbs, and is and extremely important fish for commercial and sporting uses. They are found all along the Pacific coast, from the Bering Strait to Southern California.

Image from Pacific Northwest National Library
Male and female salmon differ in appearance, with the males possessing a hooked upper jaw and nose, some reddish coloration, and a ridged back. Females have a sleeker shape, blunt faces and grey coloring. Coloring in the males and females changes during spawning. The males also develop the hooked face at that time.

Salmon are well known for their breeding practices. In the late summer/early fall, the normally ocean dwelling salmon make for deep, freshwater streams in order to spawn. Young fish (fry) remain in the freshwater environments for around a year before becoming smolt (juvenile fish) and heading out to the saltwater estuaries. The salmon then spend anywhere from 1-8 years in the ocean, before travelling back up river to the place of their birth to spawn. Males and females pair up to breed, and then the female will dig a nesting hole where she will deposit between 3,000 and 14,000 eggs. The males then fertilize the eggs, and both parents stand guard over them to keep them safe from predators. Unfortunately the long migration, sometimes constituting hundreds, if not thousands of miles, followed by the taxing process of spawning, saps all of the adult's remaining energy. Because of this, all Chinook Salmon die during their spawning migrations.

Chinook are valuable not only because of their commercial impacts, but also because of their role as a role source for numerous other species. Whales, bears, seals and birds of prey all consume Chinook Salmon. Habitat loss, over fishing, and waterway development (such as the creation of dams) are all human made threats to the Chinook Salmon. They are endangered in the lower 48 states, but the stocks in Alaska remain healthy.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Greater Kudu

Tragelaphus strepsiceros The Greater Kudu is one of the largest Antelope species out there, which the largest males standing over 5ft tall at the shoulder and weighing over 600lbs. They sport horns that equally as impressive in size-- the record is 72in. You'll find the Greater Kudus in southern and eastern Africa, where they inhabit scrub woodlands. Their brown coloration and white stripes allow them to remain camouflaged within these woody surroundings. The Kudus are most active at dawn and dusk, and spend the daytime hours hidden in these forested areas. However, their stripes are not their only defensive mechanism; they also sport very large ears that allow them to hear approaching danger. When alerted, the Antelope can try and bound away to safety. Female Greater Kudus tend to live in moderately sized groups with other females and offspring. Most mature males are solitary, and will only join up with these herds during the breeding period that corresponds with the end

Bornean Orangutan

The Bornean Orangutan is one of two extant Orangutan species in the world. It is the third largest primate (after Gorillas) and is the largest primarily tree-dwelling animal in the world. Males are substantially larger than females, and average at around 165lbs. Bornean Orangutans are largely solitary. A handful might live within a small range but they will seldom interact with one another. Males and females only meet up to breed, which happens only once every several years. A young Orangutan will stay with it's mother for about five years, and the females tend to go about eight years between births. That is the longest interim period of any animal! Sadly, the Bornean Orangutans are in a lot of trouble. They need large forests in order to thrive, and deforestation and habitat degradation has left many homeless. They are also hunted for meat and for traditional medicines. Conservation areas are being established to help these guys in the wild, and it is believed that there are a

Four!

For anyone who was counting, yesterday was our birthday-- four years! Four years filled with animals from A to Z, more than 1,100 of them! I can't thank my readers enough, it's been wonderful! And in celebration of that milestone... I'm taking a break. Hopefully not forever, but for a little bit at least. In the mean time I plan on getting a new layout out, along with some updates to some of the older articles. I'll post updates here and on the Facebook page, I'm also brainstorming some new animal-related projects, so keep an eye out! Thanks again for four awesome years!