Salmon Glossary

alevin - Larval salmon that have hatched but have not yet completely absorbed their yolk sacs and usually have not yet emerged from the gravel.

amphibian larvae - Amphibians, such as frogs and salamanders, at the larval stage of their lives.

anadromous - Salmon that migrate up rivers from the sea to spawn in fresh water.

anal fin - Fin located near the back end and on the under side of salmon.

aquatic insects - Insects who live or grow in, on, or near the water.

crustaceans - Aquatic animals such as shrimp, crabs, barnacles, etc. They have hard outer shells and jointed legs.

dippers - Small, gray birds who feed on aquatic life around and at the bottom of fast running streams.

estuary - A region where salt water from the ocean is mixed with fresh water from a river or stream.

fertilize - To make the female salmon's eggs ready to grow by spreading the male's milt over them.

fish ladders - Fish ladders are built to provide salmon with a way around hydroelectric dams and other obstructions. They are made of a series of pools arranged in a stair step fashion. Water falls from step to step, and salmon must jump from one pool to the next to reach the top.

fry - Life stage of salmon between the alevin and parr stages.

great blue herons - Large, blue-gray herons.

gulls - Common sea birds.

hydroelectric dams - Dams that generate electricity for people by converting the energy of running water into electric power.

impermeable - Can not be penetrated by liquids.

irrigation - To application of water to land by means of pumps, pipes, and ditches in order to help crops grow.

iteroparous - Salmon that are able to spawn more than once during their lifetime.

juvenile fish bypass system - A system which some hydroelectric dams have installed which help guide young salmon away from dangerous turbines and safely to the river below the dam.

kelts - spawned-out salmon - A spent or exhausted salmon after spawning. All species of Pacific salmon, except some steelhead and sea-run cutthroat, die at this stage.

kokanee - Land-locked sockeye salmon.

mergansers - Large, fish-eating, diving ducks who have narrow bills equipped with teeth along the edges and a hook at the end. This type of bill is perfect to catch small swimming prey.

milt - A milk colored substance that contains the male salmon's sperm which fertilizes the female's eggs.

orca whales - The orca whale, also known as the killer whale, is a toothed whale. Like other toothed whales, they locate prey by sending out high-pitched clicks and sensing them as they echo back off various types of objects including prey. Orca whales are about ten feet in length.

osmoregulation - Refers to the physical changes that take place in salmon as their gills and kidneys adjust from fresh water to salt water as they enter the ocean, and from salt water to fresh water upon their return.

parr - Life stage of salmon between the fry and smolt stages. This stage is generally reached by the end of the first summer. At this stage, the young salmon have distinctive parr marks and are actively feeding in fresh water.

parr marks - Dark vertical bars on the sides of young salmon.

pollute - To change a natural environment to where the environment becomes harmful to living things normally found in it. Usually this is by the input of toxic chemicals, raw sewage, or industrial wastes into the environment.

pollution - Substance or substances used to pollute an environment.

predator - An animal which feeds on other living animals.

redd - A nest for egg deposition which the female salmon digs in the gravel on the river bottom using her tail.

riparian habitat - Areas next to natural water courses which are full of trees, plants, and other vegetation. These areas help keep the water cool and clean as well as provide important fish and wildlife habitat.

semelparous - Salmon that are able to spawn only once during their lifetime.

sculpins - Any of various ocean or freshwater fishes who have large flattened heads and prominent spines.

sea lions - Any of several eared seals of the northern Pacific. Sea lions make roaring noises, which is how they got their name.

seals - Any of various marine, meat-eating mammals who live mostly in the water but spend some time on land or ice to reproduce or rest. They have torpedo-shaped bodies and paddle-like flippers.

shrimp - Any of several small, long-tailed, ten-legged crustaceans.

smolt - Life stage of salmon between the parr and adult stages. At this stage, the young salmon are silver in color and migrate to the sea.

smoltification - Refers to the changes that take place in salmon as they prepare to enter the sea. These changes include the development of the silver color of adults and a tolerance for salt water.

spawn - spawning - The act of producing a new generation of salmon. The female digs a redd in the river bottom and deposits her eggs into it. The male then covers the eggs with milt to fertilize them.

spawning grounds - Areas where salmon spawn.

spawning trip - The journey of the salmon from the ocean to the spawning grounds.

squid - Any of several ten-armed animals who live in the ocean. Closely related to the octopus.

turbine - A machine used in hydroelectric dams to help convert the energy of running water to electricity. The running water turns the turbines which turn generators to generate electricity.

woody debris - Logs, branches, or sticks that fall or hang into rivers. This debris gives salmon places to hide and provides food for insects and plants which salmon feed upon.

yolk sac - A small sac connected to alevin which provides them with protein, sugar, minerals, and vitamins. Alevin live on this "lunch bag" for a month or so before emerging from the gravel and beginning to hunt food for themselves.

zooplankton - Small (often microscopic) aquatic animals that are suspended or swimming in water.

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