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

Oncorhynchus kisutch (Walbaum, 1792)
Coho Salmon
Family: Salmonidae
Photo of species

© Tim Loh  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #96960)


Distribution of Oncorhynchus kisutch in British Columbia.
Source: Distribution map provided by Don McPhail for E-Fauna BC
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Species Information

Dorsal spines (total): 0; Dorsal soft rays (total): 9 - 13; Anal spines: 0; Anal soft rays: 12 - 17; Vertebrae: 61 - 69. Characterized by the presence of small black spots on the back and on the upper lobe of the caudal fin, and by the lack of dark pigment along the gum line of the lower jaw (Ref. 27547). The gill rakers are rough and widely spaced; the lateral line is nearly straight (Ref. 27547). The adipose fin is slender; the pelvic fins have an axillary extension (Ref. 27547). Fish in the sea are dark metallic blue or greenish on the back and upper sides, a brilliant silver color on middle and lower sides, and white below; small black spots are present on the back and upper sides and on the upper lobe of the caudal fin (Ref. 27547). During the spawning season fish turn dark to bright green on head and back, bright red on the sides, and often dark on the belly (Ref. 27547). Females are less brightly colored than males (Ref. 27547).

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

The fish occur in the ocean or in lakes; adults return to the rivers where they were born (Ref. 27547). The young fish emerge in springtime and they usually live in fresh water for 1-2 years (sometimes up to 4 years, Ref. 27547); later they migrate at night to freshwater lakes or to the sea (Ref. 1998). Epipelagic (Ref. 58426). The fish that stay more than two years in fresh water and become sexually ripe without ever going to sea, are called residuals; they never spawn (Ref. 27547). Young fish in lakes and rivers eat mainly insects; they stay almost entirely in deep parts of the river and soon become strongly territorial (Ref. 27547). Upon reaching the sea, the smolts remain close to the coast for a certain time, eating planktonic crustaceans (Ref. 27547). As they grow, they migrate farther out into the sea and hunt larger organisms (Ref. 27547) such as jellyfish, squids and fishes (Ref. 58426). They are hunted by various fishes, birds (mergansers, loons and kingfishers), mammals and lampreys (Ref. 1998).

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

The coho salmon is genetically heterogeneous and locally adapted populations are common in this species. Much of this local adaptation is associated with small populations in small streams. This biodiversity is threatened by hatchery operations (genetic swamping) and the practice of basing management decisions on a few, large populations.

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

North Pacific: distributed from the Anadyr River in Russia south towards Hokkaido, Japan, and from Point Hope in Alaska southwards to Chamalu Bay in Baja California, Mexico

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

Scientific NameOrigin StatusProvincial StatusBC List
(Red Blue List)
COSEWIC
Oncorhynchus kisutchNativeS4No StatusNot Listed
Oncorhynchus kisutch pop. 7NativeSNRNo StatusT (Nov 2016)
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) 2021. 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: 2023-06-08 10:49:55 PM]
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