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Salmonidae facts for kids

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Temporal range: Upper Cretaceous to Recent
Chinook salmon
Oncorhynchus tschawytscha
Scientific classification

G. Cuvier, 1816

The Salmonidae is a family of ray-finned fish. They are the only living family in the order Salmoniformes. It includes salmon, trout, chars, graylings, and the subfamily known as the freshwater whitefish.

The Atlantic salmon and trout in the genus Salmo give the family and order their names.

Salmonids look rather primitive for teleost fish. Their pelvic fins are placed far back, with an adipose fin towards the rear of the back. They are slender fish, with rounded scales and forked tails. Their mouths contain a single row of sharp teeth. Although the smallest species is just 13 cm (5.1 in) long as an adult, most are much larger, with the largest reaching 2 m (6.6 ft).

All salmonids spawn in fresh water. In many cases the fish spend most of their lives at sea, returning to the rivers only to reproduce. This a migratory lifecycle. They are predators, feeding on small crustaceans, aquatic insects, and smaller fish.

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