Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Salmon Fishing Scotland Salmon Migrating Nature's top 40.

Salmon Fishing Scotland Salmon Migrating Nature's top 40.

The spectacle of the Atlantic Salmon leaping out of the water as it returns to its spawning grounds is one of the most dynamic migration displays to be seen anywhere in the animal kingdom.
Link to this spectacle here.
The Atlantic Salmon (Salmo Salar) is a migratory fish which is 'anadromous' - this means that it migrates from the sea into fresh waters to spawn. There is just one species of Atlantic Salmon compared with the six species of Pacific Salmon.

During their journey the salmon undergo remarkable changes as they head for their spawning grounds. When the fish first enter the river system from the sea they’re a silvery colour. Then the males go through many radical physical and physiological changes. They stop feeding, their flanks change colour and they take on all sorts of hues – reds and greens – known locally as "taking on the tartan". Males also develop a pronounced jaw which lengthens to form a hook known as a kype, and their sexual organs develop.

The fish are driven by their hormones – it’s said that they can 'smell' the right river. When they arrive at their destination, the Salmon start leaping. They generally reach a height of around four feet, but this depends on the height of the water at the time. The highest Salmon leap in the UK is thought to be 11-12 feet. The Salmon sometimes dive down deep to get a bit of momentum for their leap so they can power their way upstream with maximum energy. They also have to rest and recuperate between a series of leaps.

1 comment:

Jeremy said...

Is there any known biological imperative behind the leaping bit? I can't imagine why they would do it if there were no evolutionary impetus behind it. My curiosity is piqued!

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