Chums for life!

Name:  Chum Salmon (Oncorhynchus keta)


AKA:  dog salmon, keta salmon, calico salmon

Taxonomy:  Kingdom: Animalia    Phylum: Chordata                          Class: Osteichtheyes    Order: Salmoniformes   Family: Salmonidae    Genus: Oncorhyncus    Species: keta

Length: up to 3.6 feet

Weight: up to 45 lbs!!  (typically 8-15 lbs)

Average Lifespan: 4 years  – “Life is short, just go with the flow!”

Friends: I’ve been known to school around with my other salmon buddies:  Chinook (aka “The King”), Sockeye (we call him “Red”),  Pink (“Pinky” or “Humpy”), and Coho (the infamous  “Silver”)


Foes:    Nemesis: The Bear.    Black, brown, whatever… I despise you all.    C’mon man, I’m just trying to get my spawn on!


Other Archenemies: many marine mammals like seals and sea lions, large birds…why can’t you all just leave me alone!  Oh and let’s not forget humans!   Not all of you of course, but definitely the commercial fishermen and recreational anglers.  What am I to you, just a piece of meat?


Favorite Foods:  insect larvae, copepods, tunicates, mollusks, squid, and a variety of small fishes.

Reproduction:   Semalparous.  One and done.  As an adult (3-4 years old) I travel upstream and spawn one time in my life, before perishing.  Spawn ’til you die!

Appearance:   While at sea, I have a silvery blue-green color.  Upon entering freshwater, my body changes dramatically.  I turn to a dark, olive green color and develop purple, blotchy streaks on my sides.  Males develop a very pronounced hooked snout with enlarged teeth.  Females also develop these “kypes” and enlarged teeth, but usually not  as pronounced.


Where I live:  I have the widest distribution of the Pacific salmon.  I range from Alaska down to the Oregon coast, all the way over to Japan and north into Russia.


Feeding Behavior: As a juvenile, I feed on things like insect larvae while I migrate towards the sea.  Once I reach the sea, I stay close to shore for awhile and feed on crustaceans, insects, and small fish.  After this I head to the open ocean and feed on copepods, tunicates, mollusks, and fishes.  When I return to freshwater to spawn, I cease feeding altogether.  At this point I use the energy stored in my body tissue to complete my migration and spawn.

My Life History:  I am born in a gravel bed in a freshwater stream.  When I hatch, I begin my migration to the sea after a few days or weeks.  I spend the next 3 to 4 years surviving in the open ocean, feeding and growing until I reach maturity.  Once I reach adulthood, I migrate all the way back to the exact same stream where I was born.  Here, I spawn once before my life ends.


Quotes about me:

“It’s okay to eat fish ’cause they don’t have any feelings.” – Kurt Cobain  (really Kurt?)


Web Sources:

2 thoughts on “Chums for life!”

  1. It is always nice to see that everyone does their own thing with assignments. You took a more point by point approach to your profile vs. my blog style. Great pictures, I can never get tired of salmon, no matter what type.

  2. This is a good read, since i am not familiar with the salmon it gave me a lot of information. i guess i will need to get familiar with them once i move to Alaska. The pictures we’re great too. thank you for the info.

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