E-Fauna BC: Electronic Atlas of the Wildlife of British Columbia

Salvelinus fontinalis (Mitchill, 1814)
Brook Trout
Family: Salmonidae

© Ian Gardiner  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #5793)


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Source: Distribution map provided by Don McPhail for E-Fauna BC
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Species Information

Dorsal spines (total): 3 - 4; Dorsal soft rays (total): 8 - 14; Anal spines: 3 - 4; Anal soft rays: 8 - 14; Vertebrae: 58 - 62. Distinguished by the combination of dark green marbling on its back and dorsal fin and by the red spots with blue halos on its sides (Ref. 27547). Pelvic fins with axillary process; caudal nearly straight or with a shallow indentation (Ref. 27547). Color varies, but generally rather green to brownish on back, marked with paler vermiculations or marbling that extend onto the dorsal fin and sometimes the caudal; sides lighter than back, marked with numerous pale spots and some red spots, each of the latter surrounded by a blue halo; anal, pelvic and pectoral fins with a white leading edge followed by a dark stripe, the rest of the fins reddish (Ref. 27547). In spawning fish the lower sides and fins become red (Ref. 27547). Sea-run fish are dark green above with silvery sides, white bellies and very pale pink spots (Ref. 27547). Caudal fin with 19 rays (Ref. 2196).

Source: FishBase. 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

Biology

Species Biology

Occurs in clear, cool, well-oxygenated creeks, small to medium rivers, and lakes (Ref. 5723, 44894, 10294). Nerito-pelagic (Ref. 58426). In its native range, general upstream movements have been observed in early spring, summer and late fall; downstream movements, in late spring and fall (Ref. 28546, 28548, 28549, 28550). Some fish, popularly known as salters, run to the sea in the spring as stream temperatures rises, but never venture more than a few kilometers from river mouths. It may remain at sea for up to three months (Ref. 28546, 28549, 28551). Feeds on a wide range of organisms including worms, leeches, crustaceans, insects (chironomids, caddisflies, blackflies, mayflies, stoneflies and dragonflies (Ref. 5951)), mollusks, fishes and amphibians (Ref. 3348, 10294); also small mammals (Ref. 1998). Stomachs of some individuals contained traces of plant remains (Ref. 1998). There are reports of introduced fish reaching 15 years of age in California, USA (Ref. 28545).

Source: FishBase. 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

Distribution

BC Distribution and Notes

Although introduced brook trout are a popularrecreational species, they pose a threat to our native salmonines. They occupy habitats similar to those used by our indigenous trout and char, compete with native species for food and space, and in some cases they displace native species. Additionally, they readily hybridize with Dolly Varden and bull trout. For these native char, competitive interactions with brook trout are exacerbated by genetic contamination through hybridization. Hybrids between brook trout and bull trout are mainly males and are thought to be partially sterile. Molecular analyses, however, clearly indicate backcrossing. Thus, in the upper Skagit River system, hybrids between bull trout and brook trout are more numerous than “pure” brook trout. Additionally, in small tributary streams, most of the fish that appear to be brook trout are, in fact, hybrids (including backcrosses) between Dolly Varden and brook trout. Given their potential for adverse effects on our native fauna, no further introductions should be made into waters that do not already contain brook trout.

Source: Information provided by Don McPhail for E-Fauna BC.
Global Distribution

North America: most of eastern Canada from Newfoundland to western side of Hudson Bay; south in Atlantic, Great Lakes, and Mississippi River basins to Minnesota and northern Georgia in USA. South America: Argentina (Ref. 9086). Widely introduced in temperate regions of other continents. Several countries report adverse ecological impact after introduction.

Source: FishBase. 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
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Status Information

Origin StatusProvincial StatusBC List
(Red Blue List)
COSEWIC
ExoticSNAExoticNot Listed
BC Ministry of Environment: BC Species and Ecosystems Explorer--the authoritative source for conservation information in British Columbia.

Additional Range and Status Information Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References


Recommended citation: Author, Date. Page title. In Klinkenberg, Brian. (Editor) 2019. E-Fauna BC: Electronic Atlas of the Fauna of British Columbia [efauna.bc.ca]. Lab for Advanced Spatial Analysis, Department of Geography, University of British Columbia, Vancouver. [Accessed: 18/11/2019 6:39:36 AM]
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