Arctic Grayling

Photo of a Arctic Grayling

Hello, my name is Arctic Grayling. My scientific name is Thymallus arcticus. Some people also know me as American grayling, bluefish, arctic sailfish, and  arctic trout.

I am a truly beautiful fish. My most well know trait is  my  extremely large dorsal fin in proportion to my body size.  I can range from black, to blue, to gold to silver. I have black spots on my sides and my fins are often fringed with orange, red, or pink. The most recognizable difference between the males and females of my species is body and dorsal fin sizes. Us males tend to grow larger and commonly sport larger dorsal fins.

I spawn in the spring. I typically choose small, clear tributaries of rivers and lakes with gravel or rocky bottoms. After females release their eggs over a suitable section of stream, males fertilize them. Both males and females then return to the rivers or lakes from which they came. My species can live as long as 32 years so I have the opportunity to spawn many times.

I am a tertiary consumer in my environment. I feed nonstop in the summer months as winter is long, cold, and food is relatively scarce. I like to eat a insect rich diet, as well  as, salmon smolt and  salmon eggs. Larger members of my species have even consumed voles!

I prefer to live in clear, cold water. I can be found in lakes, rivers, and streams. I tend to stick to shallower, rocky locations. I will move throughout the year to find the best food and suitable water temperatures. I am very sensitive to water pollution but can survive on little oxygen. I am found throughout Alaska and Canada but was once found in most of the northern regions of the lower 48. But due to overfishing, pollution and habitat loss, I am now  confined to isolated populations in Montana and Michigan. I have also been introduced to California and Arizona.

As a youngster, I  had quite a few predators, such as trout, larger grayling, and birds. As I grow older I tend to enjoy a  rather high status on the food chain. But I am still subject to being snatched by eagles and caught by humans.

As I mentioned before I can live to be 32 years old! But I try to live within my means. I the summers I am very active, I feed and bulk up for winter during which I usually spend most of my time burning as little energy as possible. In the spring I migrate to spawn and start the year over again.




One thought on “Arctic Grayling”

  1. I love Grayling! They are so beautiful when you hole them up to the light the colors on the dorsal fin are incredible! I had the opportunity to assist the Dept of Fish and Game last summer in a Graying egg take and ovarian fluid sampling for the state fish pathologist. It was a really neat experience. Good Work!

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